Wilson’s New Palace

Tom Wilson, the former president of Palace Sports & Entertainment in Michigan, has officially joined the company in charge of the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, where he will take up a similar position.

Ilitch Holdings, parent company to the Wings, Tigers and facility management / promotion company Olympia Entertainment, announced Feb. 23 that Wilson will be president and CEO of a soon-to-be-named new enterprise, according to the Detroit Free-Press.

Wilson’s first order of business is to find a new home for the Red Wings. The Ilitch-owned property Joe Louis Arena – one of many facilities operated by Olympia – will likely not be home to the hockey team next season because the team did not renew its lease with the aging arena. The team could go to the Palace of Auburn Hills (obviously a Palace Sports & Entertainment property) until the Joe is renovated or a new arena is built.

“Certainly, there’s a need there – we’ve been studying that issue for some period of time,” Ilitch Holdings CEO Christopher Ilitch reportedly said at the press conference. “No doubt about it. Tom’s going to be leading our thinking and our initiatives in that regard. He clearly has the résumé and the experience, and he’s done all that throughout his career.”

Wilson resigned his position at PS&E a week before the announcement. He was an essential part of building the Palace 20 years ago and oversaw the purchase and eventual sale of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, the Free-Press noted.

Wilson said his focus would be finding a home for the Wings. He also said “it’s not real uncomfortable” to be competing for concerts and other events against his former employer.

Chances are Wilson’s new company will oversee Olympia, which operates and promotes at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Arena, City Theatre and other venues.