I agree with aesthetics playing a role with seat occupancy, however, they're definitely having issues filling the place for Wings games this inaugural season.
Having lived through the recent golden Bowman-era of the Wings, there's been a decreasing lack of buzz around the franchise with each passing season since Scotty left the Wings front office to begin advising his son in Chicago and his adopted son down in TBay.
My guess is that tickets (which have gone up on average between 50-100% over last year at the JLA) aren't helping their case as well. As with the past 5 or 6 years at Joe Louis, you can purchase standard tickets for virtually every game this season and resale tickets are always available under face value on game days.
Devoted fans that are non-season ticket holders and casual fans who are curious about the new building can spend considerably less to get in by seeing the Pistons or picking up resale tickets for concerts or circus acts.