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Joe Louis Arena

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Pictures of Joe Louis Arena

Attendance Figures










1998/1999 19.983
1997/1998 19.983
1996/1997 19.963
1995/1996 19.928
1994/1995 19.780
1993/1994 19.820
1992/1993 19.707
1991/1992 19.723


Your ticket and your wallet
Season Ticket $ (nhl-rank) Fan Cost  Index $
01/02 53.64
00/01 52.39
99/00 50.23
98/99 48.63
97/98 43.68
96/97 37.87
95/96 35.87
94/95 32.61
All statistics are property of Team Marketing Report, for further statistics and a league-overview follow the link below to my overview (all teams, now and the past, comparison to other leagues):

Tickets & Fan-Cost-Stats (and explanation)
















Joe Louis Arena

Information and visiting-experience by Bernt Pölling-Vocke (, some pictures provided by Adam Young (

"Now follow along as we head downtown, past the world's largest tire, 86 feet high, standing along the highway. Say hello to the Motor City. A really big tire. You are not in Malibu, okay? The road is not glamorous, either. It potholes you past factories and warehouses and finally empties onto Jefferson Avenue, by the river, where a large, flat, industrial-looking red and gray building constitutes waterfront property. This is our rink, Joe Louis Arena, one of the oldest in the NHL. No glitz. No glitter. No mountains in the background. You are not in Colorado, okay?
How's that octopus doing?
Stay with us as we walk through the arena's lower level, another glamorless journey, filled with heating units, duct work, exposed pipes and metal lockers. Finally, at the end of this concrete tunnel, is a small hallway. And down that hallway is a door. Through that door is a red carpet. And inside is what you came for. Wait ... hear it? The clomping of skates? Ah. Here they come, one by one, all wearing the same uniform...."

The Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, which was opened in 1979, looks like a typical construction from the seventies. Adjectives such as "nice" or "well designed" definetly have nothing to do with the Joe, but just as most of Detroit´s inner city it´s a pretty worn down concrete-construction. Even though it looks more like a bunker than a hockey-arena the Joe Louis arena is definetly one of the better places to enjoy hockey in today´s NHL, partly due to the fact that all new arenas of the 90s look alike, no matter wether you´re in Tampa Bay, Chicago or Montreal. I would definetly prefer a season-ticket at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, but for a single game there is probably a lot more atmosphere on hand in Detroit.

As far as I know nobody in Detroit has ever mentioned the construction of a new arena so that I guess that everyone is happy with it which comes as quiet a suprise in a league where every team is more or less complaining that it needs more corporate suits, more VIP-seating and more of this and more of that. The very popular Wings should be in a good position to negoitate a deal for a new arena with the city, but I guess that due to the fact that everything is kind of shabby in the city a nice arena just wouldn´t fit into the picture here.

A cab-driver told me that Detroit will have better days ahead when all the headquarters of the automobile-industry get crushed by earthquakes in California but as far as I can imagine that won´t happen and the inner city of Detroit will continue to fall apart. Of all the inner-cities I have seen in the USA or Canada Detroit is definetly the ugliest town of them all and there is not really a lot of competition that would get even close..


Tips for visitors:

Watching hockey in Hockeytown (at least that´s what Detroit claims to be) might be a great experience for every hockey fan. You can also take a look at the inner-city but you will probably return to the hotel half an hour later, there just doesn´t seem to be too much to see in the downtown area. I would plan a one-day trip, the Joe is worth it, the city isn´t.

Getting tickets might be the biggest obstacle in your way. There are always scalpers around but those who approached me when I walked around the arena a couple of hours before the game didn´t seem to be too trust-worthy (Detroit-effect) so I would try the box-office instead. It´s definetly a wise choice to order tickets way in advance. With a capacity of 19.995 the arena is rather large, but there is also an enormous fan-base around (some of them are standing-room tickets).

Ticket-prices start at around 30 dollars but I would advise you not to buy the cheapest seats in the house (partly obstructed by advertisement). All corporate suits are located behind the last rows of the upper-level so the normal seats are closer to the ice than in most other arenas (where the suits between the levels elevate the seats above).

Once you´re in downtown Detroit you have basically found the arena already. The downtown area is rather small, a monorail is also circeling through it and also stops at the Joe (very comfortable when you got a hotel somewhere downtown and don´t want to take the car to the game). I read that the Detroit Tigers have a new ballpark (baseball) somewhere near the downtown-area so this might have improved some of the infrastructure but as far as I can tell from my trip to the city it´s a place I wouldn´t really want to visit again (besides for hockey). At least the city is part of the cities with the highest murder-per-capita-rate in the US, the only department besides hockey where Detroit rules.

If you come into town by train as I did you will end up somewhere a bit out of town. The taxi-ride should be about 10 dollars. Be aware of the typical cab-driver in Detroit. On both rides I took he forgot to turn on the counter and I bet that I paid quiet a bit too much at the end ("oh, forgot to turn it on, wait, well, would have probably been 5 dollars so far" -- yea right...).

Seating chart of the Joe:

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Seating chart provided by


Links to the team:

Detroit Red Wings: