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Pacers, city of Indianapolis strike 10-year, $160 million deal to keep Pacers in Indiana

Apr 11, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers Game Five Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers Game Five

The Indiana Pacers aren’t going anywhere.

Not that they were really going to. Still them staying put is good because Indiana is basketball country and you can see that in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which is a building unlike any other in the NBA — it’s a tribute to the sport.

The Pacers and the City of Indianapolis reached a new 10-year, $160 million deal to keep the team in that building for at least another decade, something that will formally be announced next week reports the Indy Star.

The agreement locks the team into Bankers Life Fieldhouse for 10 years, with three one-year renewal options, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star. In exchange, the city will provide $160 million to cover operating costs and facility upgrades….

The new deal appears to be more costly for the city than the current agreement with the team, though sports business experts say it’s in line with similar arrangements in other cities….

The Capital Improvement Board will subsidize fieldhouse operating costs to the tune of $3.7 million a year. That will cover things such as liability insurance, security and utilities. The CIB also will pay the fieldhouse’s manager $7.1 million a year, with that amount rising 3 percent each year. In addition, the CIB will provide $26.5 million to the Pacers for upgrades to seating, new paint and improvements to locker rooms and concessions.

We can have a debate if you want about whether a city should spend money to help a team worth an estimated value of $415 million (at least according to Forbes magazine). I personally don’t think cities should. That said there is no doubt this will get approved and there is some logic to it for the city.

The city of Indianapolis owns the arena and leases it to the Pacers for $1 a year, according to the report. This will keep the team in the building until the bonds used to build it are paid off. That’s smart. The city also is building up its downtown around the arena and needs it as an anchor to draw foot traffic to the area.

What’s undoubtably good out of this is that one of the early ABA teams is staying put in Indiana. The Pacers anywhere else would feel wrong.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:31 AM


    • spursareold - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Standard NBA business practice.

  2. thekingdave - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    The arena gets leased to the Pacers for a mere $1 a year? What a joke. Nice investigative work Helin.

  3. chunkala - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Not trolling – how’s the fan base in Indiana? Is this a good idea?

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      This season, the Pacers are 15th out of the 30 teams in home attendance at 17,484 fans per game.

      Even less than a thousand more fans a game would move them up to 8th in the league in attendance. My point is that the teams are close to each other as there are 7 teams within 1,000 fans (17,454 to 18,406).

      In 2013 the Pacers were 25th in attendance at 15,269 a game.

      In 2012 the Pacers were 29th in attendance at 16,168 a game.

      In 2011 the Pacers were 30th (LAST) in attendance at 13,538 a game.

      In 2010 the Pacers were 27th in attendance at 14,202 a game.

      The stats go back to 2001 for every team in the league. The Bulls are far and away the #1 team for attendance yr after yr…

    • thejjtrain - Apr 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      The fan base is there, very little chance the team ever moves from Indy. The only other pro sport to compete with is football, although college and high school basketball do have a better relative standing compared to other NBA towns. The only recent downturn in attendance was from ’06-’09 when the team was awful and had severe off the court issues.
      As for the deal itself its okay. Bankers Life is fairly new and draws many concerts and events. There is still a sales tax bump in effect for building Lucas Oil so its a little disconcerting when you hear $160 million into another newish arena, but there really isn’t a whole lot of negative sentiment more ‘that’s just the price of having an NBA team’.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Solid fan base Chunk. Take a look at this years attendance figures. After the brawl in Detroit fans treated MSA (and now…Bankers Life) like it was the plague. Prior to the brawl…attendance was great as well. Of course…I shouldn’t have to point out Indiana is very much a basketball hotbed. Always has been…and always will be. But that brawl decimitated the crowds. Players also continued showing up on the police blotter reports, some would be in drunken stupors at the local clubs. It takes Hoosiers a while to forgive and forget. But by and large…we are back.
      Fair question though.

    • pacersfan1 - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      Yes you are trolling. The pacers have sold out most of their home games this year. If ownership puts a good team on the floor Indiana fans will always come to BLF to support our team. So don’t worry about pacers fans.

  4. indyzown - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    The fan base is good. BUT WHERE OUR PROBLEM IS.. How can you build and maintain state of the art facilities. .. W/of the marque game .. The All star game ? How many times are you going to hold it in New Orleans ? We rocked the super bowl… The all star game should be a breeze… The championship series will be held in Indiana :) troll that

  5. El Pollo Loco - Apr 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    And where would they go anyways?

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM


      Seattle is going to get a team again…

      • philtration - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        Seattle should have never LOST their team.

  6. Dogsweat - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    Seattle will get the Grizzlies.

  7. mackcarrington - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Not a problem if the fans don’t mind paying more taxes.

  8. philtration - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    I once drove from Chicago to Louisville which is basically the entire length of Indiana.
    The most boring 4 ½ hours of my entire life.
    Long stretches of noting but dead scenery and Stuckey’s rest stops along the way.
    I was surprised that Indianapolis looked smaller than Louisville.
    You could rive through a desert and have a better time because a couple of rocks or a lizard squished flat along the side of the road would be something to look at.

    At least coming back was better because I knew I had a real place that I was headed to.

  9. lakerade - Apr 12, 2014 at 5:10 AM

    Ahem, Adam Silver.

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