Tag: Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson brought back an amphitheater — and the amphitheater business

SHOW AFTER SHOW: DTE Energy Music Theatre, with a capacity of about 15,000, is among the country’s busiest amphitheaters. (Chris Schwegler) Tom Wilson is most closely identified with developing two arenas in Greater Detroit. The sports and entertainment executive’s vision for revitalizing the market’s underperforming amphitheater sometimes gets forgotten among his accomplishments. In November 1990, Palace Sports & Entertainment acquired Pine Knob Music Theatre, now DTE Energy Music Theatre, for roughly $10 million. The Nederlander Organization owned and operated the facility, which opened on June 25, 1972, with a matinee performance by TV heartthrob David Cassidy. Over time, though, it became run-down and was booking fewer than 20 shows over the summer months in the 1980s, Wilson said. Starting in 1991, after Palace Sports took over the shed, Pine Knob was packed with 80 concerts annually.  Some acts such as classic rocker Eddie Money became an annual draw at the […]

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Tom Wilson: As They Said It

HAIL, CAESARS: Wilson was part of the development of Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. “Tom built two of the best venues in North America.”  — Rick Franks “At one time, downtown was (considered) the ‘bad guys.’ Chris Ilitch saw what Tom did in helping develop the Palace from the very beginning. They put a deal together for what turned out to be Little Caesars Arena.”  — Franks “Promoters made so much money (at the Palace) that they kept coming back. We kept telling everybody that it had the best acoustics in the country. We had no idea, but it seemed like it would.”  — Tom Wilson  “We used to preach this … if we take care of the arena, so will our guests. We could put a heavy metal band in there and the building would look just as good when they left as it did when they came […]

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