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Volume 26 No. 28
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Pacers Staying In Indianapolis For 25 Years Under $295M Arena Deal

About $120M of the renovations will go toward technology upgrades at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Photo: getty images

The Pacers and Indianapolis have agreed to a $295M deal that keeps the team in the city "for the next 25 years," according to Chris Sikich of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The Marion County Capital Improvement Board Friday morning "voted unanimously in favor of the deal" that is "contingent on the Indiana General Assembly finding money to pay for the majority" of the agreement. The CIB, "funded through that legislation, would provide" $270M toward upgrades of Bankers Life Fieldhouse "over the course of the 25-year extension." The city "would contribute" the remaining $25M, "contingent on the City-County Council's approval." CIB President Melina Kennedy said that there are "several clauses in the contract to protect the CIB to ensure the Pacers won't try to break the lease." The upgrades, which will be "fast-tracked over the next three years, will include a public plaza to host year-round events" like "concerts, ice skating and even basketball games." Inside the arena, there will be "more public areas where people can congregate." The top eight rows of seats will be "removed on the east and west ends to create horseshoe-shaped gathering places." The Pacers also will "add observation decks and enhance the suite areas." The Pacers had previously agreed to contribute about $65M for improvements to the arena and "related facilities, such as the parking garage" (INDYSTAR.com, 4/12).

IN THE DETAILS: In Indianapolis, Lindsey Erdody noted the "unprecedented agreement" commits the CIB to spending up to $120M on technology upgrades, an average of $14.5M per year on operating expenses, $17.6M on maintenance and repairs and $4.6M to license the video and sound system. The agreement is the "longest -- and most expensive -- deal between the city and the Pacers yet." It replaces the current Pacers lease, which ran through the '23-24 season. Pacers Owner Herb Simon has said that he "wants to keep the Pacers in Indiana, even after he is no longer the owner." Simon plans to "pass his sole ownership on to his son, Steve Simon." Construction is "expected to begin next year after the Pacers season ends, but the project will be on hiatus" between October '20 and the NBA All-Star Game in February '21. The final phase of the project, which will "include the outdoor plaza, is expected to be completed in the fall" of '22 (IBJ.com, 4/12).