This week, the City of Indianapolis and our beloved Indiana Pacers agreed to the terms of a deal that would keep the Pacers in town for at least the next decade.
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.
Critics of the deal have expressed concern that taxpayer money would be better spent funding city expenses such as the police department or street department, especially after the pothole fiasco following this year’s harsh winter.
It’s a valid concern, but I see the $160 deal as an investment into the city, rather than a cost. The Indiana Pacers bring in a lot of revenue to both the city and its businesses during the season.
“The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever attract hundreds of thousands of people to Indy on an annual basis. Many Downtown workers and businesses rely on those fans for their income. Amenities like professional sports, art and museums make our community a more vibrant and attractive place to live and do business.”
-Mayor, Greg Ballard
In addition to keeping the Pacers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse through the 2023-2024 basketball season, the Capital Improvement Board will oversee how the $160 is invested into the team. It’s reported that $3.7/year will go towards liability insurance, security and utilities. The manager of the fieldhouse will also receive $7.1 million per year. An additional $26.5 million will go towards upgraded seating, new paint and improvements to the locker rooms and concession areas. Lastly, $7 million will go towards upgrading the floor, and $8 million towards upgrading the scoreboard and sound system.
Sounds like a lot of money – and it is – but having the Pacers in town will continue to fuel the $208 million economic impact of Bankers Life by locking in its largest tenant for the foreseeable future. Personally, I’m a big Pacers fan and I’m excited to continue to root for my team over the next 10+ years here in Indy.