Media panel: Why doesn't Detroit host more events?

By Nick Monacelli - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - From the 2006 Superbowl and the 2009 Final Four, Detroit has been a great host to a number of big events over the years.

Even though it doesn't seem that long ago, it's been 10 years. That was the discussion of a Detroit Free Press panel Thursday morning: How can Detroit attract big events again?

There's a multitude of reasons for why Detroit has a hard time attracting events. The main reason discussed was perception.

"We still have a perception problem," said Bud Denker, president of Penske Corp. "That challenge is still there."

In addition to Denker, Denise Illitch and Detroit Lions President Rod Wood also spoke at the event.

Wood said before competing for events like the Superbowl or the NFL draft, the city should have $10 million to $50 million in the bank. Other big cities have tax money set aside, but Michigan doesn't. Michigan has to compete against tax revenues to support large events.

Wood said legislation is being worked on that would provide money for such events and that the money brought in from the economic impact of these events would make up for the money being spent on the events.

The panel also said weather is a problem, but with the North American International Auto Show being moved to summer for 2020, city officials are confident the warmer weather will give the expected 5,000 journalists from around the world a chance to go out and experience the city.

Another issue is a lack of hotel space in Detroit's downtown, but above all, the perception of Detroit -- specifically crime and blight -- is what's hurting Detroit's chances.