When it comes down to it, I can’t help but believe that Karen Davidson was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Facing estate taxes and a franchise that she truly does not want to run, Davidson saw the writing on the wall. Ilitch, like the savvy businessman he has demonstrated from his early Little Caesars days, saw the chance to bundle his teams in one location with a great deal of public financing. With Davidson’s interest in selling to a local owner and Ilitch’s goal of becoming Detroit’s ultimate power player, it looks like everything has fallen in place for a dramatic switch in this city’s business climate.
Would a different ownership team have drawn a different response? Perhaps. Tom Gores, Flint native and MSU alum was rumored to be interested in the job, so was a former David Stern assistant. With team ownership in the current economy, it’s all about familiarity. Fans don’t want to always have the thought that the team could be on the move at any moment. With Ilitch, it was never a question about whether he would move the team out of Michigan. Instead, fans should wonder how well a family can run so many properties at the same time.
In the short term, this pending sale will probably only be a good thing for the Pistons. The only benefit I could see from this deal, would be an initial shot of excitement across all sports franchises. Will the Tigers offseason be impacted by this pending deal? Will the Red Wings bolt to the Palace at season’s end? This deal has more questions than answers and I don’t see how this can benefit the consumer at the end of the day. After all – it’s still business.