From the Associated Press :

Five new luxury suites at The Palace of Auburn Hills, the home to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and WNBA’s Detroit Shock, are set to open this fall.

They’ve already been leased for $450,000 a year despite lacking at least one thing the fan in the nosebleed seat gets: a view of the court.

The underground suites offer exclusive access to the Courtside Club, a leather and wood-finished bar and restaurant where suite-holders and guests can mingle. For those not content to watch the action on a plasma television, the package includes tickets to the front-row VIP section.

Another eight underground suites leasing for $350,000 a year are to open in the spring of 2006. As part of a $23 million Palace expansion and renovation, the project also will add an 800- to 900-person dining area and an expanded food court and retail space on the ground level.

I’m all for any luxury box action that removes even the lightest pretense that those leasing said seats have any interest in the game whatsoever. The next step is to build additional boxes off-premises, perhaps in nicer neighborhoods?