INDIANAPOLIS — The first phase of renovations to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is just about finished.
The Indiana Pacers and the city of Indianapolis together are pumping $362 million into the renovations, the first of which was to the lower levels of the 21-year-old arena. Bankers Life Fieldhouse has not hosted an event since the cancellation of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament in March and that downtime has allowed the renovations to go on unimpeded.
“You won’t notice any changes on the exterior, but what we have been able to do is several things we think fans will be excited about when they come back,” said Mel Raines with Pacers Sports and Entertainment to Inside Indiana Business. “The seats on the lower level have been changed. We also have the new scoreboard. The main screens are also larger.”
The renovations also include some cosmetic work to the lower and main levels. It’s just the beginning of renovations, according to Raines, as they plan to have two more phases of renovations that include similar upgrades to the mid and upper levels of the arena.
The Dec. 1 college basketball game between Kentucky and Kansas will be the first game hosted at Banker’s Life with the new renovations completed. Raines said unfortunately no fans will be allowed in to see the upgrades.
“We’ve been working with the Marion County Health Department and the state for many months on our reopening protocols,” said Raines. “These games will not have fans in them, but it’s certainly is a good opportunity for us.”
Raines said they still plan to host the annual Crossroads Classic between Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, and Butler on Dec. 19. No fans will be allowed inside to watch those games either. The Indiana Pacers don’t know yet when they will kick off their 2020-2021 campaign, but Raines said they are expecting pre-season games to start in a couple of weeks.