Pacers to move NBA G League team to new arena in Noblesville
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Noblesville and the Pacers announced plans Monday to build a 3,400-seat arena and bring the team’s NBA G League team to the Hamilton County city.
Noblesville Common Council on Tuesday will consider a 10-year partnership agreement between the city government and Pacers Sports & Entertainment. The agreement calls $36.5 million from the city in building the arena and a $5 million investment from the Pacers. The Pacers also will lead an effort to secure another $5 million in naming rights and signage over 10 years.
Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen told News 8, “Indiana is a basketball state and Noblesville is a basketball community as well so we are excited about it and it’s going to be a catalytic moment for our city.”
“Any time you can drive folks to a city or a town you’re going to put heads in beds, you’re going to have people spending money on restaurants and at stores and that’s what we like to see. Noblesville is built on the back of a lot of small businesses,” the Republican mayor said.
The arena would be built at Finch Creek Park, which has lighted pickleball and basketball courts, a splash pad, a playground and trails southeast of Boden Road and East 166th Street on the city’s east side. The 200-acre park sits about a mile north of Ruoff Music Center. The park is adjacent to Mojo Up Sports Complex.
The site is about a 40-minute drive northeast of downtown Indianapolis.
Jensen said, “So we will develop this more than likely on the Finch Creek property there, and we’re hoping not only for the arena to be developed there but also we are hoping to add some amenities as kind of a Phase 2 of our park development out there in and around this new arena.”
The move would mean the Mad Ants will leave Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, a 13,000-seat multipurpose arena in Fort Wayne.
The new arena could open during the 2024-2025 season, and the team would play at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis in the interim.
The city government expects to draw 65,000 fans annually just for the league’s games. People in Hamilton County looked forward to having a professional basketball team in their backyard.
“I think it’s pretty awesome. Anything to bring more revenue to Hamilton County and more family-friendly events for the kids. I’m all for it,” said Tom Carney, a Hamilton County resident in favor of moving the team. “We will be going to games for sure.”
The plan also calls for a new mascot in the 2024-2025 season.
The mayor said, “We’ll have some ideas here in the next month. We were so focused on the deal and the partnership agreement and moving a franchise from one city to another is no easy lift. So we’ve been focused on the infrastructure but we will get around to the name but obviously always open for ideas.”
This story was updated to correct the intersection where the arena will be located.
“We are excited to welcome Pacers Sports & Entertainment to Noblesville along with the players, coaches and staff of the G League team. The Pacers are an iconic brand with deep roots in central Indiana. Partnering with such an impactful organization opens numerous opportunities for our community and drives forward our efforts for a larger sports and entertainment district with enhanced partnerships.”
“We are working with the Pacers and other partners on programming options for the arena on days it is not used by the Pacers. The facility would be available for events like IHSAA tournaments and competitions, concerts, conferences, corporate events and graduations. Further steps are being taken to finalize development and programming partners, which may also incorporate additional project features and recreational amenities.”
“Fifty-four percent of NBA players have G League experience. Noblesville will compete in 27 media markets in 21 other states, plus Mexico and Canada. Noblesville also has a proud history of being a basketball community, including 1998 Mr. Basketball Tom Coverdale and the 2022 Millers Girls Basketball State Champions. Adding our partnership with the Pacers only cements us as a destination for basketball and youth sports.”
Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen
“The G League is world-class basketball, and PS&E is proud to bring that to Noblesville as we strengthen our basketball operations and enhance player development in one of the state’s most vibrant and growing communities. We are excited about the way this partnership fits into the bold vision for economic development Mayor Jensen has laid out, and we can’t wait to continue growing our NBA and G League fan base right here in Hamilton County.”
Rick Fuson, chief executive officer, Pacers Sports & Entertainment
“We welcome the new partnership with the Pacers. The administration and council have made proactive, smart investments to assist with the financing of this partnership. We are excited to continue the strategic growth on the east side of our city and provide a new attraction for our residents and guests.”
Aaron Smith, president, Noblesville Common Council