Chris Granger Rumors
Detroit’s Ilitch family said Monday that it has hired the basketball executive widely credited with stabilizing the NBA’s Sacramento Kings’ business operations to oversee their sports and entertainment holdings. Chris Granger is now group president, sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings Inc., which is the umbrella company that oversees the Little Caesars pizza chain, Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and the $2.1 billion District Detroit that includes Little Caesars Arena that opens in September.
The stunning departure of Chris Granger, who resigned as Kings’ president Monday to pursue other challenges, is a major loss to both the franchise and the community. If the Golden 1 Center is his crowning achievement – and it is – the former executive has been a soothing, stabilizing presence since he was first dispatched by former NBA Commissioner David Stern to oversee the Kings’ marketing and ticket sales divisions decimated during the Maloofs’ repeated attempts to relocate the franchise.
Eminently approachable and polite, Granger mingled with patrons, fielded complaints, checked on all the details – everything from the length of the lines at restrooms and concession stands to the positioning of the bike racks outside the main entrance. “I’m really sad Chris is leaving,” Ranadive said Monday afternoon from his cell phone, “but when I recruited him, I also knew it wasn’t going to be forever. He built the arena. He stayed a year (afterward). I told him, ‘I’d like to keep you, but I also understand you don’t want to be selling sponsorships your whole life.’ He’s a big time guy.”
Kings president Chris Granger, citing a need for new and bigger challenges, resigned Monday. Granger was hired by Vivek Ranadive in August 2013 to oversee the team’s business operations and was the point man on construction of the Golden 1 Center that opened in September.