Little Caesars Arena officially opens

The official unveiling of Little Caesars Arena was complete with a ribbon cutting and a whole lot more.

“50 blocks across eight theaters, across five neighborhoods sharing four teams equals one big win for Detroit,”

There was poetry from Sekou Andrews and plenty of pomp and circumstance. Detroit’s own Thornetta Davis sang the national anthem.

There was a huge turnout to celebrate the new home of the Detroit Red Wings and the Pistons.

“Let me say with pure joy, welcome to Little Caesars Arena!”

Chris Ilitch is carrying on the legacy his father left. Mike Ilitch passed away in February but was remembered today.

“I’d like to recognize and convey my gratitude to two of Detroit’s biggest champions of all time – my parents Mike and Marian Ilitch.”

Chris Ilitch thanked everyone who had a hand in the development and construction of Little Caesars Arena and touted the community benefits of the sometimes controversial project. He says 94% of contracts have gone to Michigan companies.

“Nearly $700 million is being pumped into our local economy. What’s more is that nearly $475 million of those contracts - 61% of the total – have been awarded to companies based in Detroit.”

Recent reports reveal contractors have been fined nearly $3 million for not hiring at least 51% of Detroiters at the construction site, but those gathered today are focusing on the future.

“As far as Detroit goes, this is a huge win. This could complete our comeback.”

Pistons owner Tom Gores is talking about hundreds of millions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs – jobs like the one that went to carpenter John Perkins, a Detroiter.

“I remember my father teaching me how to swing his hammer at an early age, never to think that I would be swinging that same hammer to rebuild my city.”

A city that - officials say – is thrilled to welcome this $862.9 million sports and entertainment complex and 20,000 seat venue called Little Caesars Arena.

“We are able to reclaim a rank that we have not held since 1957. That of having all four teams in our city limits proper,” said Brenda Jones, Detroit City Council President.

“This arena is woven into the urban fabric of this city and 225 times 20,000 people are going to come down and you’re going to use the restaurants and bars and shops,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “They’re creating jobs and opportunities for Detroiters.”

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