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Red Wings’ new arena will officially open today

Little Caesars Arena

The Detroit Red Wings’ new home is officially ready to go. Later today, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and the Illitch family will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new $863-million Little Caesars Arena.

The first big event at Little Caesars Arena will be a Kid Rock concert that will take place on Sep. 12. Before then, the rink will play host to group tours and other events.

With the Red Wings and NBA’s Detroit Pistons making the move to Little Caesars Arena this year, it means that all four major sports franchises will play their games downtown (the NFL’s Detroit Lions and MLB’s Detroit Tigers already find themselves in that area).

According to the Detroit Free Press, the new rink will have a ton of cool memorabilia in it, including:

  • The wooden bench that generations of Red Wings players sat on in the old Joe Louis Arena has been installed in the Via, or concourse, at the new arena so fans can take selfies there with life-size images of Red Wings greats.
  • The original outdoor signage for Olympia Arena, the predecessor to Joe Louis Arena, has been installed in the Via after being held in storage for 40 years.
  • Multiple banners and statues of Red Wings and Pistons greats, as well as iconic Detroit entertainers such as Aretha Franklin and Eminem, are found throughout the arena and on the exterior.

Some other cool features include:

  • There’s the world’s biggest center-hung scoreboard measuring 5,100 square feet.
  • The entire ceiling of the arena has been fitted with lighting that can become a giant American flag during the national anthem or other scenes as needed.
  • There’s the Via, an internal street that reinvents the cramped concourse level at Joe Louis Arena as a spacious and inviting venue with multiple restaurants and other amenities under a clear roof. The Via may be opento the public even on non-game days.
  • Inside the Via, a giant wraparound “jewel skin” video screen can show game action and more.
  • New “gondola” seating will put some fans in the upper rows closer to the action than ever before.

The Wings will play their first game at Little Caesars Arena on Sep. 23, when they host the Boston Bruins for a preseason game. Their first regular season game at the new arena will be on Oct. 5, as the Minnesota Wild come to town.