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 Source: Detroit Pistons not for sale now but could be soon

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PostSubject: Source: Detroit Pistons not for sale now but could be soon   Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:48 pm

Posted: 11:24 a.m. Jan. 18, 2010
Source: Detroit Pistons not for sale now but could be soon

By VINCE ELLIS
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The Detroit Pistons, one of the NBA’s most valuable franchises, are not for sale but could be in the not-so-distant future, a person close to the situation told the Free Press this morning.

At issue is whether Karen Davidson, who assumed control of the franchise after her husband’s death last year, wants to continue to own an NBA franchise. Unknown also is what Davidson wants to do, if anything, with Palace Sports and Entertainment, the umbrella operation that runs the Pistons, the Palace, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival.

According to the person, it's believed that any decision to sell the team right now would not be made solely by Davidson but by a collection of the heirs and trustees of the Davidson estate. Bill Davidson was estimated to be worth nearly $4 billion when he died March 13, 2009. The source did not want to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

Finding a buyer could be difficult during the country’s economic turmoil.

Forbes puts the Pistons’ value at $479 million, fourth-highest in the 30-team NBA.

Bill Davidson, who died at 86, purchased the Pistons from Fred Zollner in 1974. In 17 seasons under Zollner, the Pistons had two winning seasons. The next 17 under Davidson brought nine winning seasons, including two NBA titles. The franchise won a third title in 2004.

In 1978, Davidson moved the team from Cobo Arena in downtown Detroit to the Silverdome in Pontiac. In 1988, he built the privately funded Palace, one of the first NBA arenas to prominently feature luxury boxes.

According to Forbes, the Pistons trail only the $607-million Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls in terms of worth.

The Pistons’ figure represents no change from last year. Forbes released its annual rankings of team valuations early last month.

Forbes, though, called it a nightmare year for the Pistons, with Davidson’s death, on-court failures, lower ticket prices and staff layoffs. On the bright side, Forbes cited a new cable deal.

Contact VINCE ELLIS: 313-222-6479 or vellis@freepress.com. Check out his Pistons blog at freep.com/section/blog16.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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