INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Pacers and the city agreed to a $360-million deal to keep the team in Indianapolis for 25 more years.
The Marion County Capital Improvement Board (CIB) owns the city’s professional sports stadiums. They voted unanimously in favor of the deal Friday morning.
The agreement includes $360 million for capital improvements comprised of an estimated $270 million from state and CIB sources and $65 million of private investment from Pacers Sports & Entertainment, including real estate purchases needed to construct an outdoor public plaza. The city is also contributing $25 million for public infrastructure needs.
Nothing is set in stone yet. The terms of the deal are contingent on the Indiana General Assembly finding money to pay for the majority of that the deal.
The new agreement will fund operating expenses, technology improvements, and capital projects, including a new outdoor plaza and social gathering areas. As part of the deal there will be no new taxes or fees.
“The Pacers have a long history in downtown Indianapolis, from the move to Market Square Arena in 1974 to the opening of Bankers Life Fieldhouse 25 years later. Today we are pleased to announce the Pacers will stay in Indiana where they belong for at least another 25 years,” said Melina Kennedy, President of the Capital Improvement Board of Managers.
According to a study by the IU Public Policy Institute, the economic impact of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, including events at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, totaled $370 million in 2018.
Pacers Sports & Entertainment is also responsible for more than 4,000 jobs resulting in $152 million in annual wages.
In 2017, Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosted 550-plus sporting and non-sporting events that generated 15 million in annual taxes.
There are also plans for a year-round public outdoor plaza, social gathering areas, and upgraded views.
Interior renderings show the removal of the top eight rows of the upper seating area to improve the fan experience and enhance views of the arena and the city. Other renderings showed an expanded entry pavilion and concourse that could host more community events.
In addition to the changes to the footprint of the building, a new outdoor plaza is planned for public use all year long. The area can host events, including outdoor basketball games, farmers markets, and rental events. In the winter, Pacers Sports & Entertainment envisions an outdoor skating rink that would be larger than the iconic Rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
While the detailed project timelines have not been finalized, construction will not interfere with the 2021 NBA
All-Star Game or the Indiana Pacers home basketball games. Because the Indiana Fever play during the summer, home games will be played elsewhere during the 2020 and 2021 seasons and part of the 2022 season.