Wayne State University and the Detroit Pistons are partnering to build a new, $25-million basketball arena on the Detroit campus for the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. It also will be the home court of the NBA team’s developmental squad.
Plans call for construction of a 70,000-square-foot arena near the northeast intersection of Warren and Trumbull avenues with seating capacity for approximately 3,000 fans, office space, and locker room areas for both WSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. A concessions area and other ancillary spaces will be included in the project that is expected to be ready for play in the 2021-22 basketball season.
“Our outstanding student-athletes have played basketball at Wayne State for a century, but never in an arena facility designed for basketball,” says Kim Trent, chair of the WSU Board of Governors. “I am thrilled that they will soon have the best amenities around.”
M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU, says, “One of the overlooked advantages of attending Wayne State is the opportunity to get practical experience with great businesses in our community such as the Detroit Pistons. With this new partnership, the opportunities will prove even richer.”
The Pistons are supporting Wayne State’s efforts to maximize use of the new facility through a partnership that will include bringing its NBA G League affiliate, currently based in Grand Rapids, to Detroit. The organization also will work with Wayne State officials to host Pistons summer camps and clinics, possible MHSAA state high school games, AAU games, and other basketball tournaments in the new arena.
“We continue to invest in the success of our franchise and the success of our community,” says Tom Gores, owner of the Pistons. “Bringing a G League team to Detroit delivers on both fronts. It will give our players and coaches the best tools available to maximize performance, and it will add more fuel to the revitalization underway in Midtown and throughout Detroit.”
Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem says a long-term lease agreement with Wayne State will bring approximately 20-plus G League games to the school’s new arena each season.
The new arena will replace the 1,131-seat Matthaei Center, which was constructed in 1965 as part of the city’s bid to bring the 1968 Olympics to Detroit. At the time of the center’s construction, Wayne State did not sponsor any women’s athletic programs and today lacks the infrastructure to properly accommodate all of its athletic teams and the increase in additional student activities.