Red Wings home named Little Caesars Arena

Major Red Wings arena announcement expected
Posted at 10:04 AM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-28 20:20:14-04

DETROIT (AP) — The name of the new home of the Detroit Red Wings is staying in the family.

The hockey arena will be called Little Caesars Arena, named for the pizza chain founded in 1959 by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and wife Marian.

The name was announced Thursday by Little Caesars and Olympia Entertainment. They said a 20-year naming agreement will average more than $6 million per year.

It's possible that another bidder could have paid more money to get the naming rights. But Chris Ilitch, chief executive of the family's Ilitch Holdings, said, "This is more than just about money."

"This is our hometown. This is a legacy business," he said.

With the deal, Little Caesars Arena branding will be on the roof of the 20,000-seat arena, on the exterior, at entrances and at center ice. The arena should open in 2017 after the Red Wings play a final season at Joe Louis Arena.

The new arena is part of an entertainment district being built north of downtown. The family also owns the Detroit Tigers.

"This facility is going to be world-class and one of the great entertainment venues in our country," Ilitch said.The new home of the Detroit Red Wings will be called Little Caesars Arena.

The world's largest Little Caesars character will apparently be depicted on the roof. 

"We couldn't be more excited to have Little Caesars Arena as the name," said Ilitch.

Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, said the construction for the new arena is ahead of schedule.