The city of Indianapolis will keep its Pacers in town for at least another decade, thanks to a new $160 million agreement. Terms of the deal will be officially announced on Monday. Per 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 city’s Capital Improvement Board is expected to vote on the deal Monday.
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. Supporters say it ensures a continued economic impact and vibrancy for Downtown.
“The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever attract hundreds of thousands of people to Indy on an annual basis,” Mayor Greg Ballard said. “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.”
Critics question whether the financial burden is too great for a city that struggles to fund police and pothole repairs.
The agreement locks in the Pacers through the 2023-24 basketball season, and possibly through the end of the 2026-27 season. That coincides with the final debt service payments on the fieldhouse.
The deal sticks even if the Pacers begin to lose money.
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. The CIB also will pay for $7 million in improvements directly to replace the floor, upgrade the cooling tower and improve the facility’s steam pressure control system.
Finally, the CIB will pay $8 million over 10 years for the scoreboard and sound system and will take title of the equipment at the end of the deal.