IUPUI, Pacers negotiating deal

August 25, 2008
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jaguarsThe IUPUI men’s basketball team appears headed across town to play home games at Conseco Fieldhouse. Officials for Pacers Sports & Entertainment said they would let IUPUI make any announcement.

University officials said an announcement on the Jaguars’ 2008-09 schedule could come as soon as this week, after one last deal is finalized.

Sources close to the negotiations said the Jags would play some of its home games this season in the 18,345-seat Conseco Fieldhouse, but might still play the bulk of its games in its longtime home, a 1,200-seat gym attached to the Natatorium on the IUPUI campus. IUPUI Coach Ron Hunter recently said IUPUI wants to move at least some of its games to Conseco Fieldhouse and Pacers Sports & Entertainment want to host the games.

Sources said IUPUI is negotiating to play more games—possibly even the majority of its home games—in Conseco Fieldhouse during the 2009-10 season. Last season, IUPUI had 16 home games. The team went 26-7 last season and has received much attention since star player George Hill was selected in the first round of the National Basketball Association draft.

Although the financial terms of the deal are not clear, it could be a financial boost for both sides. Games in a higher-profile venue with enhanced amenities could drive significant attendance gains for IUPUI. Playing at the glitzy Fieldhouse also would be a solid recruiting tool for Hunter to attract the area’s best talent. Filling some holes on its calendar would benefit PS&E, and if the deal works out long-term, that might mean IUPUI would indefinitely suspend the notion of building a 8,000- to 10,000-seat arena, which could potentially compete with the Fieldhouse for events.
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  • Do 8,000 - 10,000 people want to see IUPUI basketball??? I was unaware of any plans for IUPUI to build such a facility. They need some kind of upgrade, but I don't know if 1-2,000 people in a 16,000 person venue like Conseco really solves anything or is a wise move. Maybe a few high profile games, but that has to be a little strange playing to a virtually 1/8th full arena.

    Couldn't hurt the Pacers Sports & Entertainment Company by adding events, but just doesn't seem like an all-around good move.

    IUPUI could benefit from a small or moderate sized fieldhouse or multi-use venue and pump some money into Natatorium upgrades. I'd even urge them to revamp the IUPUI Track. That could be a very nice venue with new seating all around and some basic upgrades. Soccer games, Track & Field events, H.S. Sports, NCAA meets, it could be a nice boost for IUPUI athletics and Indy.
  • I haven't heard anything about the 8-10,000 seat IUPUI arena since the Pedigos owned the Indianapolis Ice. Thought it was a dead idea.
  • The one thing a larger venue could do is help draw bigger-time opponents. If IUPUI promises a cut of ticket revenue or some other type of deal, that could help IUPUI play big-time games without signing away game only deals. That could help with IUPUI's RPI and put them in a post-season tournament, and that snowballs into better recruiting and so forth.
  • There has been consistent talk of building a new facility at IUPUI for years. A combination basketball/tennis venue to replace the Tennis Center is usually the impetus. Short term Conseco is a good answer for IUPUI, but they really need a 8,000 to 10,000 seat arena for sports, convocations, concerts and the Tennis Center.

    This does leave a big question mark for improvements at the tennis center. Have they ever thought of using Lucas Oil? I wonder how many courts you could fit on the field, parking lots and in the Convention Center?

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