Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indiana Pacers
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Pacers Basketball at the Fieldhouse
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, debuted November 6, 1999, as Conseco Fieldhouse. The 18,165-capacity indoor arena replaced the 25-year-old Market Square Arena that was vastly outdated for the NBA at the turn of the century. In Indiana, basketball is a way of life from the early ages, and high school gymnasiums are among the largest in the world. Bankers Life Fieldhouse fits the motif of a world-class arena in this basketball-rich state.
Food & Beverage 4
There is not a shortage of food and beverage choices at the Fieldhouse with select stations on both the main and upper concourses. Quaker Steak and Lube, Donato’s, Hardee’s, SweeTies Gourmet Treats, BBQ Alley, Blue Flame, and Mel & Herb’s can be found on one of two concourses. Many of these restaurants are not located in the Indianapolis market, such as Quaker Steak & Lube chicken wings which can be purchased by the bucket ($18 for a 20 wings) and barbecue nachos from BBQ Alley. Fans may also sit down and enjoy their dinner at tables located throughout the concourse, instead of eating at their seats. The tables and chairs are located against the brick walls that feature painted advertisements from local businesses.
Once you enter the main lobby of the Fieldhouse you are quickly reminded that you are entering a party and not just a game. There are bands, drum groups, ushers welcoming you onto the concourse and a bevy of cheerleaders who will take a picture with you. If you do not feel welcomed by any of this, please check your pulse.
The art deco feel of the 1930s is evident from the old fashion ticket windows to the painted advertisements on the brick walls throughout the building. You will also find artifacts and posters of Indiana Pacers, high school and former professional teams throughout the area located in glass cases inside the area. A sense of both pride and accomplishment is evident inside the Fieldhouse. It is an atmosphere that is almost unmatched in any other NBA arena in the country.
The Pacers have also included an enormous video board that hovers above the court and offer fans a crystal clear view of the action from anywhere in their seats. I was a bigger fan of the old fashion time clock and video board, but I understand the need for a giant screen and keeping up with the times. However, the screen is somewhat vapid, but makes up with its clear and crisp imaging that features a multitude of advertisements throughout the game.
The Pacers’ gift shop has an array of team merchandise, but is a little cramped for the size of the arena. However, there is not a lack of retro and modern Pacer gear inside the store. There are a couple of stands located on the main concourse and one station that can personalize a jersey with your name on it.
When you are located in the heart of downtown, you are usually in prime real estate, and this is the case for the home of the Pacers. A couple can park their car a few hours before the game, shop at Circle City Mall, eat at numerous local and national chain restaurants (St. Elmo’s, Kilroy’s, Champp’s, Steak and Shake, Rock Bottom, Oceanaire Seafood Room and a host of others), watch the game, and then head out for either drinking, dancing, or music at one of the dozens of bars and clubs without having to take a taxi.
The downtown area is safe, usually full of revelers walking the streets and well lighted and sparkling clean. If you are interested in staying downtown, there are few brand hotels within walking distance of the arena.
A funny thing happened in Indianapolis about a decade ago. The Colts became legitimate contenders for the Super Bowl and the city became a football town. The Pacers, who had enjoyed a string of playoff winning basketball, hit rock bottom around this time with numerous off field incidents with players that hurt the image of the team and left the Pacers falling behind the Colts and college basketball in terms of popularity in the capital city. The organization has done an incredible job assembling a team that the city can be proud of, but so far the fans are fleeting at best. If the Lakers, Heat or Bulls are in town, you may have to wonder who the home team is. The Pacers rank 25th (82% capacity) in the league in attendance as of this writing in March 2013, and offer affordable ticket prices. For a team that is leading their division and have clinched a playoff berth, the fans should feel a little humbled.
The arena is easily accessible from the major interstates of 70, 65 and 465 with parking abundant throughout the downtown vicinity. After the game, exiting these facilities takes a little knowhow of the one way streets of Indianapolis, but signs are posted that direct customers to their desired route back home. Traffic moves smoothly during this time as well, as there are officers who are stationed to keep cars moving.
Return on Investment 4
Upper bowl seating will cost an average of $15-$39, while lower bowl seating is a little more at $45-$82 a seat. How much is too much for a professional basketball ticket? I am not sure, but it depends on the customer and their willingness to pay for the product.
The seats in the upper deck can be a little steep, but they do provide a great view of the court and play. The lower bowl offers your typical close up action that can be found throughout other similar arenas in North America. The organization provides affordable tickets that include mini game packages that are posted on billboards across the city. If one is parsimonious; I am sure they can find the right deal from the Pacers’ ticket offices.
The Pacers have been hand painting their season schedule to an adjacent building. It is a simple look that is both eye catching and a topic of conversations. A casual fan has a complete schedule in front of them for the season.
You also know that you are in Indianapolis from the pictures of college and high school basketball highlights, Hoosier theme products and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Also, the Pacers name and logo is displayed throughout the arena in various forms from logos, slogans and banners.
NCAA Hall of Champions
700 W Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
One South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Homewood Suites by Hilton Indianapolis-Downtown
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