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The Detroit Pistons Enter The Gaming Community World With New Partnership

The Detroit Pistons have made creative use of the NBA’s long hiatus, at least from the business side. In early September they were the first professional sports team to create a season ticket IPO in partnership with Flagstar Bank, enabling fans to earn interest on their ticket deposit.

Earlier this week, the Pistons branched out yet again in a different direction and partnered with platform provider Rivals to create an esports gaming community for fans called “Motor City Rivals”.

“We are excited to work with Rival in creating our “Motor City Rivals” esports gaming community”, said Mike Zavodsky, Chief Business Officer of the Detroit Pistons. “Whether it is competing in NBA2K or other sports-related gaming products, this unique platform will enhance our ability to engage fans, distribute content and provide rewards for users experiencing our brand away from the basketball floor.”

Just like the organization was able to blaze a trail with its Pistons IPO program, this partnership is the first of its kind among professional sports teams. Historically speaking, the Detroit Pistons haven’t been known for creative solutions to strange situations, so this is a clear indication that the organization’s new direction is displaying creativity and innovation in these challenging times.

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How “Motor City Rivals” Works

Per release, utilizing Rival technology, the Motor City Rivals community will allow fans to compete against each other and earn reward points that can be used to redeem Pistons merchandise and other prizes. Community members can play games such as NBA 2K, Madden, FIFA and EA NHL on both Xbox and Playstation.

In addition to rewards points to get free Pistons gear, there are more selling points that could draw in attention. Motor City Rivals will launch on October 14th with an NBA 2K21 Tournament. Members will compete for $1,000 in cash prizes, and according to the release either Pistons guard Bruce Brown “or another mystery player” will be in the field of competitors.

Rival Chief Marketing Officer Dan Parise expressed his own excitement about the partnership:

“Rival is excited to partner with such an iconic NBA team like the Detroit Pistons, who have demonstrated their progressive approach by launching this community for their fans. Rival will install its unprecedented technology into the Pistons ecosystem, allowing them to create sustained engagement with their fan base and a new set of touchpoints for their corporate partners. We look forward to working with the Pistons to engage gamers of all ages and create opportunities to enhance the Pistons brand.”


The sports world hasn’t seen anything quite like this before, and it will be interesting to see how this unique approach to reaching out to the fan base will work. The Detroit Pistons are a fascinating test case because their own fan base in 2020 is not especially large, but it’s a passionate one especially online.

While perhaps a team with gargantuan global reach like the Los Angeles Lakers would have been expected to make this move into egaming communities, the Pistons should be lauded for thinking outside the box in a way that could help them build deeper relationships with their own fans.

Time will tell how successful this outreach into this community will be, but the idea is fascinating at this early point.

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