A while back, I had seen a picture of a for sale sign in front of the Pontiac Silverdome, the former stadium of the Detroit Lions and had thought it was just a mere joke or photoshopped photo (See photo to the right). Today, I was reading through the news, and to my amazement, the Silverdome was indeed for sale. The big shocker is the price the stadium went for, a mere $583,000! The original cost of the stadium: $55.7 million, which means the stadium has been sold for about 1/100th of what it originally cost to build the stadium. It is noted that there are houses which cost more than this 80,000 seat stadium.
The stadium, which is located in the hard-hit state of Michigan, was put up for auction by the city of Pontiac who owned the stadium. The top bid was made by a Canadian group, which has claimed they will be turning the Silverdome into a domed soccer stadium. The Silverdome does have a history of hosting sporting events, hosting four FIFA World Cup matches in 1994, Elvis Presley, Pope John Paul II, The Cherry Bowl, The Motor City Bowl, Super Bowl XVI (where Joe Montana made his name), and so forth.
After the completion of the newer Ford Field in Detroit, the Pontiac Dome has gone essentially unused for the last seven years, with the Lions leaving in 2001. In the time since, the city has tried to host several events and teams in the stadium including a WHA hockey team, a Canadian Football Team, both deals fell through. The city did use the parking lot as a drive-in movie theater for a few years, but the stadium was closed down for good in 2006. The investment team plans to make a bid for an MLS team, and to use the stadium for its games. I don’t think this will go over very well. The MLS has realized how problematic it is to use mega-sized stadiums for matches which draw around 10,000 fans on average. However, the $583,000 is definitely cheaper than building a smaller soccer specific stadium so maybe it will all work out. Some how I don’t see an MLS franchise in Detroit doing very well.