Pacers, Indy Officials Negotiating Bankers Life Fieldhouse Renovations
Pacers officials are conducting "hush-hush negotiations" with the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board on potential upgrades to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Hawks' recent renovations to State Farm Arena "might provide hints" as to what the Pacers are hoping for, according to Mickey Shuey of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. City and CIB officials are "negotiating major improvements to the fieldhouse in return for a long-term commitment" from Pacers Owner Herb Simon to "keep the team in Indianapolis and continue playing at the arena." Simon said last year that he "would like to sign a lease extension but to do so the fieldhouse would need upgrades 'to enhance the fan experience' that would cost 'a lot of money.'" Pacers officials "have told city officials they’re hoping work wraps up before the city hosts the NBA All-Star Game" in '21. While the current lease "doesn’t expire" until the '23-24 season, city officials are "eager to strike a renovation deal soon." The Hawks put $50M toward the $192.5M in "renovation costs for their arena," while the city of Atlanta "picked up the rest in return for the team’s agreeing to an 18-year lease extension." Despite "millions of dollars in upgrades over the past few years, Bankers Life Fieldhouse has fallen behind many of its peers." One portion of the arena that "appears ripe for a new use is the Pacers’ former practice court, which is adjacent to the outer lobby." The team "stopped using the court" in '17 when the $50M St. Vincent Center opened "directly across" from the arena (INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/14 issue).
FRONT OFFICE WAVES: ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Pacers are hiring longtime WNBA exec Kelly Krauskopf as the "first woman assistant general manager in NBA history." Krauskopf "will work with the Pacers basketball operations staff," including President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, GM Chad Buchanan and Assistant GM Peter Dinwiddie. She had been President & GM of the WNBA Indiana Fever for 17 years until "relinquishing only the GM duties" in '17 to "oversee the Pacers' new esports entry" in the NBA 2K League. Krauskopf will move into a "full-time role in the Pacers' front office," meaning that she is "relinquishing her WNBA and esports duties" (ESPN.com, 12/17).