Long before Detroit was Hockeytown it was and still is the Motor City, which is why many Detroiters are offended that Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Illitch will be giving away a free Honda Civic at its April 3 home game against the Minnesota Wild.
As owner of both the Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and possibly the Detroit Pistons, Ilitch has done a lot for the city. In 2009, after both GM and Chrsyler were bailed out by Congress, Ilitch did not charge a bankrupt GM for the Comerica Park Fountain sponsorship. Instead, Ilitch put up a sign saying, “The Detroit Tigers Support our Automakers.”
When asked about the fountain, Ilitch said, ” I wanted to help. I kept asking myself, ‘What can I do to help?’ I’ve always viewed GM, Ford and Chrysler as pillars of strength in our community, and I understand the ups and downs that a business must endure. To me, it’s a small way of showing our support and saying thank you for all the times they’ve been there for this community.”
Ilitch’s past support of the US auto industry is why many fans are angry and upset he would choose to give away a Honda instead of one of an American car. The Red Wings released an official statement saying:
“The Detroit Red Wings and National Hockey League both have a long history of working with a wide variety of corporate sponsors, including all of the local automakers. Corporate sponsors add tremendous value to the fan experience and the overall success of the franchise. We have strongly supported the Detroit three automakers over many years and look forward to continuing those relationships.”
I think the best way to sum up my feelings on this is in the words of blogger Itsalwayssunnyindetroit.com, “How much will Honda be kicking in for this new Wings/Pistons super combo arena? I’ll chime in with a guess of zero dollars and zeroty-five cents. This is a farce and a half. But ya know what, this promotion may make me decide to buy a ticket to this game. I hope I do win the car. I’ll gladly accept the keys and then chuck them in the Detroit River. You’ve made a lot of decent decisions, Mr. Ilitch. But this one, this one shouldn’t fly.”
Image via DetroitTigers.com