The Indiana Pacers will be part of NBA history this week as the team participates in the league’s first games ever in India. The Pacers and Sacramento Kings will play preseason games Friday and Saturday at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai. The team will embark on the 20-hour flight Tuesday. “We kind of feel like we’re pioneers,” said Pacers President Kevin Pritchard. We’re going to go over there and put on two great games…we’re super excited about it.”
Pritchard talked about the trip, the team and improvements in and around Banker’s Life Fieldhouse on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
NBA India Games 2019 is the latest effort in the league’s ongoing strategy in India. The NBA says more than 35 current and former NBA and WNBA players have visited the country on behalf of the NBA since 2006. The league opened an office in Mumbai in 2011. Also, more than 350 NBA games air in the south Asian Nation each year.
As the team prepares for the historic trip, the area in and around its home court continues to change.
A $360 million facelift of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse is set to begin next year. In addition to upgrades inside the arena, plans call for a public plaza for ice skating, concerts and year-round entertainment events near the venue’s Pennsylvania Street entrance.
The area is also becoming a popular target for development, including the recently-opened Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel and connecting Pier 48 Fish House and Oyster Bar.
In 2017, the Pacers christened St. Vincent Center, a $50 million training center located across from the Fieldhouse on Delaware Street.
Pritchard believes the changing look and feel around the team’s home will have a big impact on downtown’s southeast quadrant.
“You’re going to look at people coming earlier and I think you’re going to see people staying later in the downtown area, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Pritchard. “You look at the building, BLF, you look at the practice facility and how that’s grown, it’s beautiful and it’s great to see that growth.”