Key figures discuss the impact of the Noblesville Event Center on the Pacers and city
Rick Fuson, Mayor Chris Jensen, plus Chris Taylor and Tom Hankins of the Mad Ants share their thoughts with FF. The new arena may have an economic impact of ~$50 million annually on Noblesville.
One week ago, Pacers Sports & Entertainment put their words and designs into action as a groundbreaking was held in Noblesville for a new event center that will become the new home for Pacers’ G League games in 2025.
It was more than 18 months in the making.
This will be a significant upgrade for both the Indiana Mad Ants — yes, a new name is coming too — and the city of Noblesville, which is about 24 miles north of the St. Vincent Center.
The location chosen for the future Noblesville Event Center is at I-69 and Olio Road, at an area referred to as Innovative Mile near the Hamilton Town Center and Ruoff Music Center.
“A huge investment like this in my hometown is incredible,” said Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen. “I think it’s a game-changer for Noblesville.”
After the formal ceremony, which included NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and G League NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Fieldhouse Files talked with PS&E CEO Rick Fuson and Mayor Jensen — along with Mad Ants GM Chris Taylor and coach Tom Hankins.
The Indiana Mad Ants’ home-opener is tonight at 6 p.m. ET against the Windy City Bulls.
(You can watch the full ceremony in the video below.)
Rick Fuson, CEO of Pacers Sports & Entertainmnent
What is the significance of this moment to you personally and for the franchise moving forward?
Before we opened Gainbridge Fieldhouse, I ran Market Square Arena. To be there, then to be at Gainbridge Fieldhouse and then now to be part of the Earth turning to build a new facility on the north side of Indianapolis is heartwarming to me. I’ve been in the business for a long time and to see communities like Noblesville put their heart and soul in it, and say, ‘Hey, that’s going to be good for us and Innovation Mile.’ Sports can be a great economic development tool so I think that’s what Mayor Jensen and the group was looking at and we really look forward to getting starting here.
What has been the biggest challenge for you and the organization over the last year and a half as you establish a relationship, set designs and make it happen?
The biggest and hardest thing we had to do was decide that we’re going to leave Fort Wayne. That was first and foremost. And then once we came to an agreement with Noblesville, we have a lot of extra (people to talk with), in terms of our basketball group and our arena people. So we got together Populous (an architectural design firm) and we got together some other architects like Bill Browne at RATIO — and then it came together pretty well.
Now, we’ve got to see what the weather is like. If they can get the weather going and get these machines going, then it’s going to be pretty good and pretty quick.
To be clear, the plan is for the Mad Ants to play home games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse the next two seasons before it is ready?
Yes, that’s correct. Now, if it gets done sooner, maybe we’ll be able to move here sooner.
Is it correct that the G League requires for affiliate teams to be at least 20 miles from downtown?
Yes, there is a statement they make that it’s supposed to be 20 miles away from your main gym. And obviously we meet that here. Coming from downtown, it’s a pretty easy place to go too. And a lot of people live on the north side.
We are hoping this will start another way for us to make more Pacers fans as well.