Pacers, city of Indianapolis strike 10-year, $160 million deal to keep Pacers in Indiana

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The Indiana Pacers aren’t going anywhere.

Not that they were really going to. Still them staying put is good because Indiana is basketball country and you can see that in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which is a building unlike any other in the NBA — it’s a tribute to the sport.

The Pacers and the City of Indianapolis reached a new 10-year, $160 million deal to keep the team in that building for at least another decade, something that will formally be announced next week reports 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 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….

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.

We can have a debate if you want about whether a city should spend money to help a team worth an estimated value of $415 million (at least according to Forbes magazine). I personally don’t think cities should. That said there is no doubt this will get approved and there is some logic to it for the city.

The city of Indianapolis owns the arena and leases it to the Pacers for $1 a year, according to the report. This will keep the team in the building until the bonds used to build it are paid off. That’s smart. The city also is building up its downtown around the arena and needs it as an anchor to draw foot traffic to the area.

What’s undoubtably good out of this is that one of the early ABA teams is staying put in Indiana. The Pacers anywhere else would feel wrong.