The book on Tom Wilson
As president and CEO of the soon‐to‐be‐named new enterprise, Wilson will provide input into every aspect of the Ilitch companies. One of his initial strategic priorities will be to leverage the natural business opportunities among Olympia Entertainment, the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers – while also aggressively looking for new areas of collaboration to grow these businesses as well as other companies within the Ilitch enterprise.
Wilson will also look for innovative ways to package and promote the substantial assets of Olympia Entertainment, one of the most diverse and leading sports and entertainment organizations in the country. Olympia’s vast portfolio of venues includes Detroit’s legendary Fox Theatre, Joe Louis Arena, Comerica Park, Cobo Arena, Masonic Temple and City Theatre. Wilson will be responsible for guiding and growing these venues as well as looking for opportunities to expand the portfolio.
Wilson had an illustrious 32‐year career with the Detroit Pistons, including the last 22 years as president and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment, Inc. (PS&E). Wilson oversaw the Detroit Pistons and the organization’s three venues: The Palace, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival. The Palace of Auburn Hills is home to the Detroit Pistons, members of the National Basketball Association.
The organization reached unprecedented success in 2004 when the Detroit Pistons won the NBA World Championship, the Tampa Bay Lightning – then owned by PS&E – earned the NHL’s Stanley Cup and the previously PS&E‐owned Detroit Shock began defense of the WNBA title it earned the previous season. It marked the first time in pro sports history an ownership held three trophies simultaneously.
The Palace was designed largely around Wilson's input and he was responsible for staffing and developing the operational philosophies of the new arena. Under his direction, The Palace earned Arena of the Year awards nine times by Performance magazine, beginning with New Venue of the Year in 1988.
His direction was instrumental in the renovation of DTE Energy Music Theatre. The facility was named the nation’s busiest, top grossing or highest attended outdoor venue in year‐end lists of entertainment in trade publications in each of its 19 seasons under Wilson’s guidance. It was named Best Outdoor Concert Venue in Pollstar’s 2000 Readers’ Poll and was nominated Amphitheatre of the Year each summer of PS&E ownership. In 1994, PS&E assumed management of Meadow Brook Music Festival on the grounds of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
A native of Detroit, Wilson joined the Pistons in 1978 and was promoted to chief executive officer the following year. In 1993, Wilson was named President and CEO of the Pistons. During his tenure, the Pistons were recognized as one of the best‐marketed and most highly valued teams in the NBA.
Wilson, a graduate of Cass Technical High School and Wayne State University, began his career working for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and The Forum.
Wilson and his wife Linda reside in Oakland Township.