Woodnits Entertainment Center has been a longtime fixture at Mill Creek, where the local Lions were originally based.
But after the team moved to the new facility last year, it has struggled to attract new fans and stay in business.
The facility was originally slated to reopen next year but was pushed back to mid-2016 to address concerns from the county and the city about traffic and noise.
Now, Woodnitz is trying to return to profitability, but its not the same as the one it was in its heyday.
Woodnitors are no longer allowed in the facility, and in a city that’s known for its large Black and Latino populations, that’s a problem for a local business.
“We have to be able to attract people who are interested in Woodnite entertainment,” Woodnito owner and Lions executive director Tom Riehl told ESPN.
“We have a very small, local audience.”
Woodnites Entertainment Center, which was originally scheduled to reopen in mid-2017 but was moved back to the Mill Creek Entertainment Center to address community concerns, has struggled for years to attract fans.
Alicia D’Angelo/ESPN Images Woodnit owner and Lion executive director Jim Riehls said it’s not easy to attract young Black and Latina fans who want to attend events.
“There is a perception that we are not Black and that we don’t play football.
But it’s very hard to make that perception disappear,” Riehn said.
The city and county have had varying views about how to handle the situation.
According to a report by the Detroit News, the county has proposed banning Woodnizers from the facility because it would be against city code.
And in a statement released to ESPN, the Lions have said the facility would not reopen if it were to be subject to the county’s ordinance.
Still, some are worried about the facility’s future.
Many Black and minority businesses in Detroit have long struggled with race and ethnicity, and the situation is exacerbated by the city’s new policy banning the use of Black and other minority mascots.
As the city tries to figure out how to address this issue, it also needs to figure how to attract more Black and Hispanic people to the area.
There’s also the issue of how to keep the facility open when there’s not much demand for it, and some people worry the new policy would put a damper on those plans.