The Conseco Fieldhouse is what you wish your team’s bland arena was like. It is build like a classic fieldhouse, it feels retro and modern at the same time. It is filled with the history of Indiana basketball. It is warm. It is the best arena in the NBA.
And the Pacers are threatening to leave it.
Of course, the issue is public money. It is always public money. From the Indianapolis Star.
Since the 18,345-seat venue opened 11 years ago, the Pacers’ lease with the city has required the organization to pay for the building’s general operating costs, estimated at $15 million per year…
On Tuesday, Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris said if a deal isn’t inked by June 30, Simon would have to start searching for other solutions, and nothing would be off the table.
“We’ve been having conversations with the Ballard administration for two years,” Morris said, “and we’re now at the point where we need to wrap this up in the next 30, 40 days.”
Nothing is imminent, this is just another negotiating tactic. Threaten to move to scare the public, in turn that puts pressure on the city to pick up the tab. If the team moves, it is more likely that owner Herb Simon sells the team to someone intent on moving it (ask your friends in Seattle how much fun that is).
But this is also another little salvo in the NBA’s big market vs. small market owners war that is starting to heat up. That’s about the money, too. It’s always about the money.