Silverdome is open for business again

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The Silverdome used to be a venue that welcomed everyone from the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons to Pope John Paul II, Elvis Presley and WrestleMania III.

Its new owners are hoping to make the domed stadium a legitimate place for entertainment again.

Toronto-based Triple Investment Group LLC had a news conference Thursday to announce its plans to host six to eight events this year. It bought the 80,000-plus facility for $583,000 last year at an auction.

The owner said it plans to hold the Green Soccer Bowl featuring World Cup teams from Ghana and Nigeria in May, but the chance of that happening — on turf just a few weeks before the actual World Cup — seems unlikely. Ghana's soccer federation has not confirmed the team's participation.

A monster truck and motorsports show on April 17 will be its first event in the 35-year-old venue.

"Welcome back to the Silverdome," Triple Investment Group chairman Andreas Apostolopoulous said. "We are very happy to bring this wonderful building back to life."

The new owners have spruced up the place, painting and cleaning the public areas and installing flat-screen TVs in the suites.

The stadium in suburban Detroit likely accumulated a lot of dust because it has been quiet for the most part since the Lions moved back to downtown for the 2002 season.

When it was completed at a cost of $55.7 million in 1975, the Silverdome was an engineering marvel. The air-supported and cable-restrained stadium was the largest of its kind and was the first example of a fiberglass-fabric roof. In the Silverdome's first year, it hosted Elvis' last stadium concert.

The Super Bowl followed in 1982 as did a slew of other marquee events, including two unique ones in the same calendar year. More than 93,000 flocked to the facility in 1987 for the Pope to celebrate Mass and to watch Hulk Hogan slam Andre The Giant at WrestleMania.

(This version CORRECTS typo in dateline to Pontiac.)