Olympia Entertainment’s roots date back to 1927, when the Olympia Sports Arena was built in downtown Detroit to accommodate Detroit’s NHL franchise, the Detroit Cougars, and serve as the premier venue for a variety of entertainment. Affectionately known as “The Old Barn,” Olympia Stadium opened its doors in October 1927 and hosted a wide variety of events including rodeos, ice shows, an Elvis Presley concert, Frank Sinatra concert, the Harlem Globetrotters, presidential addresses, and seven Stanley Cup winning Red Wings teams over its 72 year history. The Olympia Sports Arena closed its doors in 1979 and was demolished in 1986.
In 1982, Michael and Marian Ilitch purchased the Olympia Stadium Corporation, the management company for Olympia Stadium and renamed it Olympia Arenas, Inc. The newly purchased business was responsible for managing events at Joe Louis Arena (which had been completed in 1979 as the home of the Detroit Red Wings), Cobo Arena and the Glens Falls Civic Center. That same year, Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch purchased the Detroit Red Wings.
In 1987, the Ilitches purchased Detroit’s iconic Fox Theatre (built in 1928) and renovated the 4,800+ seat venue, saving 80% of the original surfaces. In 1988, the Ilitches re-opened the Fox as the hub of the Foxtown Entertainment District and the building now houses the offices of Olympia Entertainment and Little Caesars Pizza. In 1989, the National Parks Service designated the Fox Theatre as a National Landmark.
The Olympia Stadium Corporation was renamed Olympia Entertainment in 1996 to reflect the management company’s expanded operations and venues.
In April 2000, Comerica Park, the new home of the Detroit Tigers hosted Opening Day and ushered in a new era of MLB baseball in Detroit. The 41,000+ seat ballpark is owned by the Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority, and Olympia Entertainment operates Comerica Park.