The Detroit Sports Commission announced the formation of a new local organizing committee -- Detroit Sports Organizing Corporation -- on Wednesday during a luncheon at Ford Field.
The group consists of some big players in Detroit sports and business, and its goal is to attract major national sports events to the city. They say bringing all of these groups together with strengthen their bids for big events.
"They’re getting so big now that you can’t do it just in an arena or just in a stadium or just in a ballpark. You need a little bit of everything including theaters," says Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment.
The new committee is really taking an 'all hands on deck' approach. Here is a list of the DSOC's 16 founding members:
- Chairman: Michael G. Wright, chief of staff, Wayne State University
- Larry Alexander, president & CEO, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Alessandro Dinello, president & CEO, Flagstar Bank
- Bill Emerson, vice chairman, Rock Holdings, Inc.
- Greg Hammaren, senior vice president/general manager, Fox Sports Detroit
- Timothy Mahoney, chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet
- Duane McLean, executive vice president, business operations, Detroit Tigers
- Faye Nelson, vice president, DTE Energy Co., president and board chairman, DTE Energy Foundation
- Mariam Noland, president, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
- James Settles, Jr., vice president, UAW-Ford
- Arn Tellem, vice chairman, Detroit Pistons
- Mike Tirico, host & play-by-play, NBC Sports Group
- Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund
- Alexis Wiley, chief of staff, mayor's office, City of Detroit
- Tom Wilson, president & CEO, Olympia Entertainment
- Rod Wood, team president, Detroit Lions
"To have this group in place, it allows us to be proactive and to be on top of things and to seize the opportunities as they come up," explains Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman of the Detroit Pistons.
The NBA and NHL have already said they will host All-Star games at Little Caesars arena, but the NBA as identified some potential issues like hotels and parking. It's those kind of questions that put these kinds of events four to five years out.
"The NBA All-Star game and NHL All-Star game will bring in 7,000 to 10,000 people, and they want to make sure that there’s enough space that we can handle it," says Wilson.
Wilson says coordinating big events at downtown venues has been (and will continue to be) a big part of managing hotel and parking capacity.
Lions president Rod Wood says a super bowl may be pretty far off, but he doesn't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
"I think the draft may be more likely, and that's become almost as big an economic impact as the Super Bowl because people are here for three or four days from all over the country. Every team has fans here. A lot of colleges have fans here," explains Wood.
The 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia brought in more than $100 million. That is certainly an attractive number, but according to members of this newly formed committee it’s not all about the economic impact.
“I think it’s another source of civic pride. And I think it helps the brand , as I said, nationally of the city," says Wood.
"When you get people to come to Detroit, Detroit doesn’t disappoint. It’ll lead to more events coming here. It’ll lead to other business coming here. For the people that are here it affirms and validates everything that they’re doing every day...all the hard work that people are putting into this city," says Tellem.
Tellem was also asked about the prospect of bringing an MLS franchise to Detroit. He says he hopes to have the league's expansion committee here in November, but didn't elaborate much more than that. He says they're "moving forward".