New Silverdome owner: Anybody got a ball?

The new owner of the Pontiac Silverdome has gone public with his plans for the vacant 80,000-seat facility:

“I like sports and I like being involved with sports, so I hope to bring sporting events people will like,” Andreas Apostolopoulos, chief executive officer of the Toronto-based Triple Properties Inc., said Wednesday. “I’m not just thinking soccer, but football or baseball or whatever.”

This at least explains why Apostolopoulos previously said he’d be putting an MLS franchise in the dome, when MLS has a stated distaste for oversized venues: He has no idea what he’s talking about. Though for a purchase price of $583,000 — I wasn’t the only one to note that this is cheaper than some apartments — he can afford to buy first, and figure out what he’s doing later.


14 comments on “New Silverdome owner: Anybody got a ball?

  1. This sounds just…could any rational person really be thinking about bringing major professional sports into the Silverdome? You wouldn’t move in hockey or basketball; the baseball and football teams have new homes. MLS? Adequately covered already by you Neil. What else is there, and in the most economically depressed city in the country?

    Does all of this perhaps sound like Tax Write-offÔøΩ, or something else along these lines? Maybe, at the low purchase price, the profit is in selling it for scrap. But bringing sports back into it…Apostolopoulos’ comments sound like something out of an episode of the Twilight Zone. The title of said episode is left as an exercise for the reader.

  2. He got 127 acres of surrounding land as part of the deal. Even in Michigan in 2009, that’s probably worth something.

    Or, he’s nuts. Or likes to see his name in the paper — people have spent more than $583,000 for that.

  3. He could at least try to sound like he knows what he’s talking about by addressing the fact that the Sliver Dome is about as diametrically opposed to the MLS business plan as you can get.

  4. Hey the guy owns an 83,000 seat stadium. Can’t really blame him from trying to attract something to it. Even if his rationale in team and league choices seems like it’s coming from a 5 year old. I think in the end we’ll just see him demo the stadium and sell the land when the market turns around.

  5. For that price, I’d turn it into a giant tiered greenhouse and become the hydroponic, organic produce king. Always need food, it’s sheltered and great distribution rail lines out of MI.

    Use the vending areas as a local artist storefront. That’s a big story as well in some Detroit areas…homestead the Silverdome.

  6. Well, good luck to him.
    When the property went up for sale, though, the city manager noted that the land and facility had cost the city about $1.5M annually. I’m assuming this includes utilities, security, maintenance and an amount calculated for taxes (which the city wouldn’t be paying on their own property, as I understand it).

    I think Mr. A has an uphill battle ahead of him… but good luck anyway.

    Do any of you think the commercial property market in Pontiac is strong enough to support a demo and reconstruction on 127 acres? I don’t live there, but it doesn’t sound like it to me…

  7. Let me get this straight: MLS has a problem with an 83,000 seat stadium? I just checked the stats on the new stadium in Seattle built for the Sounders(and tagged every ten feet by Microsoft and Xbox banners): 60,000. As a reference, the LA Galaxy’s Home Depot Center has 26,000 seats, Chicago Fire’s Toyota Center has 20,000.

    It appears that MLS only has a problem with large seating capacities when it’s not backed by the Pirates of Silicon Valley and their ill gotten loot.

    Or is the message they are sending that they will only grant you a franchise if you build a brand new stadium?

  8. Scott,

    Yup.

    Seriously though they’re looking mainly for stadiums built for soccer in this country (ie: sub 30,000 seats) or for NFL stadiums like Qwest in Seattle that were built with the “stadium in a stadium” concept where the lower bowl is approximately 25-30,000 or less. The Silverdome is not in that class of stadium. It is a relic of the ill advised 1960’s and 70’s era stadiums.

  9. Let me get this straight: MLS has a problem with an 83,000 seat stadium? I just checked the stats on the new stadium in Seattle built for the Sounders(and tagged every ten feet by Microsoft and Xbox banners): 60,000. As a reference, the LA Galaxy’s Home Depot Center has 26,000 seats, Chicago Fire’s Toyota Center has 20,000.

    It appears that MLS only has a problem with large seating capacities when it’s not backed by the Pirates of Silicon Valley and their ill gotten loot.

    Or is the message they are sending that they will only grant you a franchise if you build a brand new stadium?

  10. No Scott their message is that they want you to play in stadiums that are optimized for soccer. Qwest Field may be large overall, but it was also designed for soccer and with the “stadium in a stadium” concept. The lower bowl of Qwest is all that is opened for Sounders games, and unsurprisingly it’s approximately the same size as a Soccer Specific Stadium like the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. Same goes for the upcoming Vancouver team’s stadium BC Place. BC Place while similar on the outside to the Silverdome currently, is going to have a new roof put on, has a lower overall capacity, has a lower capacity lower deck, and was designed for soccer as well as CFL football originally. And most importantly, both stadiums are in the heart of downtown which has proven to be of great benefit to MLS teams so far.

    The Silverdome on the other hand has over 55,000 seats if I’m remembering correctly in its lower bowl which is far too big for MLS. It’s field was also not designed with soccer in mind and is too narrow. And it is not located anywhere near downtown Detroit.

  11. Dan,

    True, it was not “built” for soccer. But I’d suggest that you Google the locations of the 1994 World Cup, and all the venues that hosted. The Silverdome is among them.

    The following is a cut from Wikipedia:

    For the World Cup games, a natural grass surface capable of growing inside the dome was developed and installed by a team from Michigan State University.[3] This grass surface was laid upon wooden pallets atop the artificial turf that is usually used. It was the first time that World Cup games were played indoors.

    Also from Wiki:

    FIFA hoped that by staging the world’s most prestigious football tournament there, it would lead to America’s growth of interest in the sport – one condition FIFA imposed was the creation of a professional football league; Major League Soccer started play in 1996.

    So, MLS was founded as a “condition” of the World Cup being hosted in the US, the Silverdome played a part in that World Cup, and now MLS, who owes some of it’s history to the Silverdome’s contribution, now seems to be snubbing the Silverdome.

  12. Scott, to say MLS owes part of its existence to the Silverdome is stretching it. First off, if the WC hadn’t been held in the Silverdome they would have found a similar venue in a neighboring midwest city to host that particular set of games. Second, while hosting the WC as I recall the Silverdome was not a very good venue. As you point out they had to bring in real grass which was in poor condition after the short slate of games to be played at the venue. Also do remember, the WC was in 1994, 15 years ago. The stadium landscape of the US has changed dramatically in that time. Just look at the other stadiums that held that world cup with the Silverdome.

    Stanford Stadium – demolished 2006 (subsequently rebuilt)
    Giants Stadium – being demolished in 2010
    Soldier Field – demolished 2002 (subsequently rebuilt)
    Cotton Bowl – abandoned by all tenants who have moved to newer stadiums
    Foxboro Stadium – demolished 2001
    Citrus Bowl – may undergo a $200 million dollar renovation to extend it’s life
    RFK Stadium – only remaining tenant looking for a new home
    Rose Bowl – undergoing modest improvements

    You’ll notice a trend among the Silverdome’s contemporaries. They’re all either going to be abandoned, abandoned, demolished or undergoing costly rennovations to keep them relevant for the sport they were designed for, football. Like the Citrus Bowl, the Silverdome would require a massive rennovation to make it ready to host a soccer team, far more than it would cost to simply build a brand new Soccer Specific Stadium of the type MLS actually uses today. I’m sorry but the world has passed the Silverdome by and she was left for dead unless someone wants to spend an irresponsible amount of money on her (literally 100 to 200x her current value) to make her ready to host MLS. And it still would make little sense as there is no ownership group in Detroit for the team and a newer stadium of appropriate size would likely cost just as much if not less.

  13. Well well well I see that your assumption is incorrect they are trying to make it work I congratulate them on the success of the ac milan game !! I think there ne reno plan is just what the state needs.

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