BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE
Designed to capture the rich tradition and history of Indiana
basketball and the storied high school gymnasiums and college
arenas that house the Hoosier Game throughout the state, Bankers
Life Fieldhouse is a unique blend of today’s amenities and yesteryear’s
With 750,000 square feet and 17,923 seats for Pacers basketball,
Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse),
opened Nov. 6, 1999, when the Indiana Pacers hosted the Boston
Celtics. In the intervening years, it has continued to add evolving
technology and comfort while not relinquishing its nostalgic aura.
It is a building that is unique in today’s sports society because extra
effort was made to make it that way. In other words, in Indiana, where
basketball borders on religion, it must then be played in an appropriate
cathedral. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is that cathedral. That’s what
makes the home of the Pacers and Indiana Fever unique.
“This building has a special feeling to it, so that when people come
into it they feel a part of the tradition that the building is for,” said Pacers
Sports & Entertainment President and COO Rick Fuson. “I think this is a
pure basketball arena that reflects the game itself and its roots.”
Ground was broken on July 22, 1997 on the $183 million multipurpose
facility and while there were blueprints, a scale model and
dreams, it was difficult for anyone to fathom what would evolve. But
what rose 14 stories into the Indianapolis skyline is a fit perfect for
the city, the state, the game of basketball at any level and the various
events a facility of this type would host.
“There are so many features that make it one-of-a-kind,” said
Tom Proebstle, Project Designer for Ellerbe Beckett, the Fieldhouse
design firm. “The most obvious feature is the two huge glass curtain
walls facing east and west that mark the beginning of an incredible
architectural promenade as you are approaching downtown on the
highway and see the lit-up glass set against the Indianapolis skyline.
No other arena in the world can claim this. I’m sure it will be copied
many times over.”
That’s the view from the outside. Inside, the unique look and feel of
Bankers Life Fieldhouse fully takes over. The Entry Pavilion is a vast
gathering place that funnels fans to the Grand Staircase. As patrons
make their way up the staircase, their view takes them to their first look
at the seating bowl (another unique feature) and to large memorabilia
cases on each side of the entrance to the seating bowl.
From there, no matter which direction one takes, it’s a nostalgic look.
From the signage, to the concession stands, to the sponsor pavilions,
to the bathrooms, to the practice facility, to the light fixtures, to the
state-of-the-art center-hung scoreboard, Bankers Life Fieldhouse is
unique, distinct and, as Pacers’ great Reggie Miller once described,
“Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Far beyond my expectations.”
USA Today has called the Fieldhouse “A Cathedral to Basketball” and
Amusement Business Magazine referred to it as “The Camden Yards
of Basketball.” Upon its opening, NBC’s Bob Costas said Bankers Life
Fieldhouse “is winning raves all around the league, many think it’s the
best building in the NBA.”
That reputation has not diminished.
A dominant feature of the Fieldhouse is the state-of-the-art
scoreboard that was added in 2012. The scoreboard features twin
1080p high definition (HD) video screens, each measuring 50 feet long
– extending nearly foul line to foul line – by 21 feet high. In addition
to the HD screens running the length of the court, the innovative
rectangular scoreboard design is capped by a 25’ by 14’ full 1080p
HD video screen facing each baseline. The end result of the design
is a greatly improved visual experience from nearly every seat in
the building. BLF also features a state-of-the-art sound system, also
installed in 2012. In 2014, 18 new large digital displays were installed
throughout the building.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse has suites (63), club seats (2,400) and
state-of-the-art amenities. But it has a look and feel unlike any other
Thanks to a 10-year, $160-million grant from the Capital Improvement
Board, which owns the building, Bankers Life Fieldhouse is currently
undergoing a wide range of improvements to add more customer
service, technology and back-of-the-house upgrades. Foremost
among the improvements visible to fans were two new additions
added before the 2016-17 season:
• The Lightbound Courtside Club, a dramatically renovated and
enlarged restaurant that offers views of both the Practice Court
and the Pacers players as they make their way to and from their
locker room to the court.
• The Lexus Loft, a consolidation of eight suites on the Krieg
DeVault Club Level into an exclusive combination of theatre and
loge seating served by a common food and beverage area.
In addition to hosting both the NBA and WNBA Finals for the Pacers
and Fever, the Fieldhouse has hosted major boxing, WWE and UFC
events, as well as visits from Pavarotti, Bruce Springsteen, The Boston
Pops, John Mellencamp, Paul McCartney, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill,
Coldplay, NSync, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Kid Rock, U2, Lady Gaga,
Elton John, Billy Joel, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood,
Bruno Mars and Disney On Ice. It has also played host to the 2002 FIBA
World Basketball Championship, the 2004 FINA World Short Course
Swimming Championships, three U.S. Gymnastics Championships and
numerous Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
In 2016, BLF hosted its second NCAA Women’s Final Four and in
March of 2017, hosted an NCAA Men’s Regional. BLF also is home to the
IHSAA Boys and Girls State Basketball Finals, the IHSAA State Wrestling
Championships, and the Crossroads Classic featuring Indiana, Purdue,
Butler and Notre Dame universities.
Additionally, Bankers Life Fieldhouse has been recognized for its
compliance and exceeding of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
One other note to illustrate the building’s versatility: it is the most
widely used public building in the state of Indiana, hosting between 1.7
and 2 million visitors annually.
WE GROW BASKETBALL HERE INDIANA PACERS 2018-1 9 YEARBOOK