Pacers, CIB Excited About New Deal

Rick Fuson is the president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Rick Fuson is the president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

The president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment says the agreement announced today to keep the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever in Indianapolis is exciting for everyone involved. The Capital Improvement Board approved the 25-year deal, which also includes $360 million in upgrades to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Rick Fuson says it has always been the desire of Pacers owner Herb Simon for the team to remain in Indy and the changes to the fieldhouse will ensure the team continues to play in a first-class facility.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Fuson said the deal will allow not only Pacers Sports & Entertainment, but the city in general, to remain competitive.

"We've got to keep up and we have to be competitive," said Fuson. "As it relates to the Big Ten, for example, as we upgrade this building and we make sure that it has the first-class facilities that we need, we can continue to be competitive to bring events like that here. We've done a lot of focus groups with all of our fans and they've asked us to do more in terms of different types of offerings, whether it be from loge box seating or whether it be from open seating, whether it be from areas where people, especially young folks, can come in their groups and be entertained and not sit in a seat but yet be there and enjoy the event and enjoy their friends at the same time."

The upgrades are being funded through a combination of sources, including the city of Indianapolis, the CIB, the state legislature, and the Pacers organization itself. Fuson says the team has had great support from government leadership both at the city and state level. 

"It doesn't make a difference whether you're on one side of the aisle or the other. All these groups have come together on a regular basis and especially this time," said Fuson. "It's so very important to us. The CIB, one of the best and most important economic generators of any part of our government, has made a difference. Sports makes a difference from an economic development standpoint, but it's not just sports. It's all the other things that we're doing, especially in downtown, that are helping to feed the economic vitality of our state."

CIB President Melina Kennedy says the effort will be a huge boon for the city and state.

"The Pacers alone with this 25-year long-term deal will have an economic impact on the state of $13 billion and that's part of the 25-year vision that the CIB has generally to continue the $1 billion per year economic impact on the state with our various convention, sporting, arenas, buildings, but also events," said Kennedy. "Being able to announced a 25-year deal, the commitment of the Pacers here with no new taxes or fees is just a huge win for the state."

Fuson and Kennedy will talk more about the deal this weekend on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick. You can find a list of showtimes throughout the state by clicking here.

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