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Proposal Could Secure Indiana Pacers Lease Extension

Indiana Pacers

Several details need to be resolved, but a proposal that includes funding for Bankers Life Fieldhouse upgrades could result in a roughly 25-year Indiana Pacers lease extension.

The Pacers have played at downtown Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse since it opened in 1999, and are currently committed to a lease that expires in 2024. With the expiration of the lease approaching, the Pacers are working with local and state officials on a plan that could secure funding for Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovations and result in a lease extension.

Legislation filed by Indiana senator Ryan Mishler, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, calls for revenues generated within special taxing districts in downtown Indianapolis to be directed toward arena manager Capital Improvement Board to help fund facility upgrades–including Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovations. The exact scope of the arena renovations, along with some other key details of the proposal, still need to be resolved, but a representative for the Pacers says a preliminary plan calls for a lease extension of about 25 years. More from the Indianapolis Star:

It’s unclear how big a chunk of change would be involved in such deal, which is much longer than recent agreements with the team. The Pacers’ current deal, $160 million in public money for a 5-year lease extension, expires in 2024. The team uses the public cash for operations and improvements at Bankers Life FIeldhouse.

Former state Sen. Luke Kenley, who is lobbying for funding for the deal on behalf of the Pacers, told IndyStar the preliminary deal being discussed would last roughly 25 years from the day it’s signed.

He said Pacers owner Herb Simon, who is 84, is motivated to cement the Pacers’ legacy as Indianapolis’ home team.

“He’s thinking of the heritage and all of the things he went through with the team for 40 years,” Kenley said, “and he thinks it’s important to stay here.”

It remains to be seen what the Pacers will expect from future Bankers Life Fieldhouse improvements, but the renovations could perhaps include social spaces and significant technology upgrades, reflecting ongoing trends in both NBA and NHL arena renovations.

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