To accommodate the move, Noblesville plans to build a new 3,400 seat, 85,000-square-foot arena designed by krM Architecture+ on the east side of the city.
“We are excited to welcome Pacers Sports & Entertainment to Noblesville along with the players, coaches and staff of the G League team,” Mayor Chris Jensen said. “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.”
The new arena is anticipated to open during the 2024-2025 season, and the team would play at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the interim. City and team officials are working through due diligence steps with local partners and plan to build the arena at Finch Creek Park near the Mojo Up Sports Complex, which generates nearly 1 million visits per year. The city expects to draw 65,000 fans annually to Noblesville and Finch Creek just for games, which is already the second most visited area in Hamilton County for sports visitors.
“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,” Jensen said. “Further steps are being taken to finalize development and programming partners, which may also incorporate additional project features and recreational amenities.”
The franchise will remain the Mad Ants through the 2023-2024 season. A new mascot will be unveiled prior to the 2024-2025 season and Mad Ants, a name with a special tie to Fort Wayne, will be retired.
“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,” Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson said. “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.”
At the Noblesville Common Council meeting on May 9, a 10-year partnership agreement between the City of Noblesville and Pacers Sports & Entertainment will be presented. The agreement includes $5 million in cash investment from PS&E, which will also lead an effort to secure another $5 million in naming rights and signage over those 10 years, as well as $36.5 million from the city in building the arena.
“We welcome the new partnership with the Pacers,” said Noblesville Common Council President Aaron Smith. “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.”
Featuring 30 teams — 28 with one-to-one affiliations with NBA franchises — the G League offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
“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,” Jensen said. “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.”