The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that the name for their new arena will be Little Caesars Arena.
Previously known as the Detroit Events Center, the arena is scheduled to open for the 2017-18 NHL season.
The naming rights deal is a curious one, as the Ilitch family owns both the Red Wings and Little Caesars, so in essence they’re paying themselves $120 million over 20 years.
I’m less-than-impressed by all of it but I recognize that it could have been worse. Little Caesars is a perfectly acceptable brand to be attached to – better than Amway, for example – but it’s doesn’t quite have the pull of Honda or American Airlines or United or Verizon.
If the Ilitch family was just going to end up getting no money for the naming rights anyway, why not go with Gordie Howe Arena or Olympia Arena or something like that? Via Twitter, Winging It in Motown’s J.J. suggested that there might be issues between Olympia and Little Caesars that drove the naming deal.
I wonder if the Ilitch empire is under threat of being split & the 20-year naming rights is a way to make Olympia & Little Caesars play nice
— J.J. (@JJfromKansas) April 28, 2016
I actually wonder if it’s more a matter of Olympia and Little Caesars about to no longer be related. Locking up the arena’s naming rights for 20 years just before selling off Olympia Entertainment would be a smart thing for the Ilitch family to do.
In addition to feeling underwhelmed by the name (if Little Caesars was going to be the sponsor, I’d have loved to see them go with Little Caesars Coliseum), I’m disappointed in the logo. The Little Caesars wordmark is to be expected. “Arena” in all lowercase below it is somewhat inexplicable. The mark at the top of the logo… Is that supposed to be a hockey puck? How generic. The shape of the arena? Too abstract. A pizza? Doesn’t look like one to me. It feels like clip art to me.
But there we have it, the new arena name. Little Caesars Arena.