Sources: Red Wings’ and Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch to become Pistons’ owner

Detroit business mogul Mike Ilitch is about to become the owner of his third Detroit sports franchise.

In what came as a bit of a shock, Detroit business mogul Mike Ilitch is about to become the owner of his third Detroit sports franchise.

The Detroit News announced late Tuesday morning that Ilitch will take over the Detroit Pistons, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

With the regular season kicking off Oct. 27 at New Jersey, the deal is expected to be finalized within the next month.

Terms of the signing have not yet been released, Forbes valued the team at $479 million in 2009.

In the summer, Ilitch expressed his desire to purchase the Auburn Hills-based franchise, if only in the fear the city and state could lose it.

“When I read in the paper there was the chance that this great sports town could lose one of its professional sports franchises,” the Little Caesars’ owner said. “I just didn’t see how we could let that happen.”

Ilitch’s claim sparked big news in the Motor City but was quietly brushed down when other potential buyers came into play. Among the candidates were Tom Gores and George Postolos.

The billionaire Gores is a Michigan State alumnus and grew up in-state. Postolos had the more well-suited basketball background, as former president of the Houston Rockets and serving as special assistant to NBA commissioner David Stern.

With the purchase, Ilitch has potentially given his Red Wings a new arena to play in, whether temporarily or permanently.

Tom Wilson, president and chief executive officer of an enterprise within Ilitch Holdings, was involved with the Pistons organization for over 30 years, until leaving to join the Ilitch family earlier this year.

Many saw this as a snag in the possible purchase, as bad blood between to the two companies (Olympia Entertainment Inc. and Palace Sports and Entertainment).

In fact, Palace Sports sued Olympia earlier in the summer for violations of Michigan’s Trade Secrets Act, breach of contract, unfair competition, and conspiracy by Olympia and former PS&E employees, according to Crain’s Detroit. Wilson was not named in the lawsuit.

Speculation began when Ilitch made the announcement of his interest in the Pistons that professional basketball could move back into downtown Detroit. With Wilson’s concert and promoting background, particularly as Palace Sports president and CEO his last 22 years with the company, it seems making The Palace of Auburn Hills strictly an entertainment facility a fairly strong possibility.

The Pistons open up their preseason schedule versus the Miami Heat tonight at 7:30 p.m.