A proven leader in the sports, restaurant and entertainment industries, Michael Ilitch enters his 20th full season as
Owner/Director of the Detroit Tigers.
- He was a driving force behind the creation of the Tigers spectacular new home, Comerica Park, and contributed
more than 60 percent of the financing for the $300 million facility.
- Served a key role in designing the new ballpark, bringing years of entertainment experience to the efforts that
resulted in many of the features that make Comerica Park unique.
- Ilitch's acquisition of the Tigers on August 26, 1992 was the culmination of a long association with the club that
saw him originally sign a minor league player's contract with the organization in his early 20s.
- Ilitch's playing career was cut short due to a knee injury after his third season with the minor league club.
- Founded Little Caesars Pizza in 1959 with his wife, Marian...Little Caesars, which is one of the top international
pizza chains with restaurants on four continents, celebrated its 50-year anniversary on May 8, 2009.
- Committed to business ventures in their hometown of Detroit, the Ilitches purchased the Detroit Red Wings in
1982 and have built them into an elite NHL powerhouse with four Stanley Cup titles in the last 15 seasons.
- Also purchased Olympia Entertainment, which manages several restaurants, sports and entertainment venues in
the Detroit area.
- While many businesses were leaving Detroit's urban center, the Ilitches in 1987 purchased the neglected Fox
Theatre, a 1928 landmark on the famous Woodward Avenue...with great effort, the building was restored to its
original splendor and was reopened with 5,000 seats in 1988...it is now among the highest grossing theatres of
its size worldwide.
- In 1989, the family further committed its efforts to reviving Detroit's downtown by relocating its suburban Little
Caesars headquarters to the Fox Theatre's adjacent 10-story office building...since then, the area around the
Fox and Comerica Park has seen significant development, including the Ilitch-owned City Theatre and
- Created Olympia Development in 1996 to promote development in downtown Detroit.
- In 1999, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., was formed to provide the family's primary business interests in the food, sports
and entertainment industries with professional services.
- Ilitch has received Presidential Citations from three United States Presidents -- Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush
and Ronald Reagan for feeding the hungry through the Little Caesars Love Kitchen.
- Ilitch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and U.S. Hockey
Hall of Fame in 2004.
- Ilitch has been honored by many for his tireless efforts in Detroit and surrounding communities with many
awards, including the Distinguished Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award from the Michigan
Department of Health for promoting and demonstrating exemplary performance in advancing principles of
human rights, equality and positive social change and most recently received a Shining Light Regional
Cooperation Award for exemplary regional leadership.
- In 2007, Ilitch was given the Secretary's Award, the highest honor given to a civilian by the United States
Department of Veterans Affairs, for his Little Caesars Veterans Program, which was created in 2006 to provide
honorably discharged veterans with a business opportunity when they transition from service or seek a career
- In 2008, Ilitch was rated the number one owner in professional sports by Turnkey Sports and Entertainment.
- In 2010, Ilitch was voted the most effective team owner in the NHL by a Sports Business Journal survey.
- ESPN The Magazine's "Ultimate Standings 2011" ranked Ilitch as the number one franchise owner in all of
professional sports for honesty, commitment to community and loyalty to core players.