Seven hours before tipoff Tuesday, gold towels were draped over every seat inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Outside on the plaza, fans were already gathered and ready to cheer on the team as they take on the New York Knicks.
“It’s fun to watch everyone get excited and not want to go to work the next morning because they’re staying up late and watching the Pacers,” said one woman wearing her Pacers jersey.
The buzz and energy surrounding the team had Pacers head coach Frank Vogel thanking fans for their support.
“You play more energized when there is this kind of buzz in your community,” Vogel said. “And we’re just thankful they’re behind us.”
Pacers officials were expecting another loud and packed Bankers Life Fieldhouse Tuesday night.
“I think so far this series has made people very excited and when people are excited, obviously they come out and support the team,” said Pacers Senior Vice President Todd Taylor. “It’s a way for us to engage with some fans who maybe haven’t been here in a little while.”
Several fans who spent their lunch hour at a Pacers pre-game party said the history of the Pacers vs. Knicks only added to the buzz.
“This series means a lot going back to the mid-90s when we saw them every year,” said Ron Craft. “So to see them again and to have them come back in our building, we gotta go out and just smash ’em every night.”
On the business side, it’s the kind of atmosphere that makes convention and tourism officials happy. Tuesday night’s game was expected to generate about a million dollars in downtown spending.
“And so when you have national media exposure like tonight’s game, it helps with the overall perception and branding of a city,” said Chris Gahl of the Indiana Convention and Visitors Association.
Taylor said there were still some tickets available to the game as of early Tuesday afternoon, but they were going fast.
The Pacers and Knicks tip off at 7 p.m.