Pacers get unexpected marketing bounce from bikeshare program

June 13, 2014
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Pacers BikeshareWho knew that a bike share program would boost the Indiana Pacers’ marketing and community relations?

Well, it has.

Simon Family Foundation is a primary funder of the program, which features bike racks and Pacers’ gold clad bikes downtown. The bikes are emblazoned with “PACERS BIKESHARE” on the down tube.

The program was launched April 22 by Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc., and Pacers officials said the positive response has been fast and furious. The bikeshare program features 250 bikes and 25 stations along the downtown Cultural Trail.

The idea of a bike share program as a marketing tool is as new as it has been amazing, said Pacers’ sales boss Todd Taylor. The Pacers are the only NBA team, and quite possibly the only one in all of professional sports, involved in such a bike share program.

“It’s much like people wearing Pacers shirts and hats around town,” Taylor said. “The bikes seem to be everywhere and they’ve given us a great presence in the community.”

The program has also been “a visible sign that we’re a community partner,” said Bill Benner, Pacers senior vice president of corporate, community and public relations.

“You come out here some days and this rack is completely empty,” Benner said referring to the bike share rack on Pennsylvania Street in front of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. “They’re especially popular on weekends when we have activities downtown. They’ve become a real popular way to get around.”

Pacers officials agreed that the big bump in public relations has been somewhat unexpected.

“It’s been tremendous to see,” Taylor said. “And it’s great because the bikes are so visible.”

Pacers owner Herb Simon, and his son, Steve, a team executive, didn’t hesitate to get involved in the program.

“The Simons are very environmentally conscious,” Benner said. “They are really interested in going green.”

  • Who knew?
    "Who knew that a bike share program would boost the Indiana Pacers’ marketing and community relations?" Huh? So Pacers execs see their name plastered on bikes around the city and see this as some indicator of a boost in team public relations? What kind of sloppy article is this? All we can say is that the Pacers name is on some bikes and the bikes are being used. No evidence if offered in this article or by the execs that it has in any way boosted the team's image or relations with the public in a quantifiable manner.
  • bikeshare
    i used one of the bikes last night. loved it. didn't have to get a taxi. i wish there were more bike stations. the station at my final destination was full. i had to park the bike a lot further away and backtrack.
  • Simple Question
    How much did the Simons pay for the naming rights to this 100% publicly funded bike share program? It is completely unacceptable that this information has not been disclosed.
    • Pointless, misleading headline
      Echoing AlanB's sentiment, this article has zero evidence that the Bikeshare program (indeed a noble endeavor in Indy) has given the Pacers an "unexpected marketing bounce." What a pointless, baseless headline. The opening paragraph might as well be straight from The Onion! Why not dive a little deeper next time, IBJ?
    • Purchasing naming rights
      Nick, naming rights are often sold for public investments. Think Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Kelley School of Business, the Simon Skjodt Orangutan Center, and Pepsi Coliseum. You get the drift... simply buying naming rights is not somehow taking public property and converting it to private ownership. It is marketing.
    • Fact Check
      NICK, Get your facts straight. Bikeshare, like the Cultural Trail were NOT publicly funded. Both programs were privately funded through donations (Glicks and Simons among others). Had they relied on public funding they would have NEVER happened. That's not a dig on Indy, same story in most cities... In fact, that is what is great about Indy, you can get things like this done...
    • Trolls
      I see the trolls are in full bloom today. God forbid they find something positive about the bike program.
    • Show me the Money
      Hey IBJ why not investigate who paid the bill for the bikes and who is getting the revenue? The City paid the bill and I don't think they are getting the revenue.
    • Funding
      In the 3rd paragraph of this article it says "...Simon Family Foundation is a primary funder of the program." Those are the same Simons that own the Pacers. In the next paragraph it says "...The program was launched April 22 by Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc." This organization is a nonprofit. We need to read critically before we comment.
    • Funding II Actually, above is a link to an Indystar story detailing the funding of the program. The Foundation funded the startup costs and will fund the ongoing operations. Another $1 million was given by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Google is a wonderful thing!)
    • Did you read the article, Nick
      "Simon Family Foundation is a primary funder of the program"
    • Majority of Cultural Trail Funded By Taxpayers
      Bait & Switch: Early reports advertised the cultural trail as 100% privately funded by the Glicks. Then this happened: What was the total cost of the Trail? The total project cost was $63 million. Private funding totaled $27.5 million, public funding (federal transportation funding) totaled $35.5 million. No local tax money was used for the Trail construction.
    • Think about this
      Gwynny, Do some simple math. $1 million was given by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation paying for 250 bikes/stations. People pay to use these bikes. How could the Pacers/Simons possibly be paying for the vast majority of this program with a "significant undisclosed contribution" Answer: They didn't. I hear they invested $35,000 for stickers

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