Pacers, Noblesville hold groundbreaking ceremony for future home of G League games
Executives from the NBA, G League, Pacers and Mad Ants joined the city of Noblesville for a historic day breaking ground on a new basketball arena.
NOBLESVILLE — Monday, Nov. 6, 2023 was a significant day for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. It marked the first day of a new chapter for their G League franchise.
Almost six months to the day since the organization’s announcement that they were moving the Fort Wayne Mad Ants permanently to central Indiana, the team broke ground on a new facility for home games in Noblesville, Indiana.
The Noblesville Event Center is scheduled to open in 2025 with the intention for the 2025-26 season to be the first full season that the team will utilize the venue for home games.
In the meantime, the Indiana Mad Ants will play home games for the next two seasons at Gainrbridge Fieldhouse. They open this season on Saturday in Sioux Falls, then host their home-opener on Monday, Nov. 13 at 6:00 p.m. against Windy City.
“We wanted to make sure that if we were going to move, that we moved to the right community,” Rick Fuson, CEO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment said on Monday. “We think Noblesville is one of the fastest-growing, one of the most well-run municipalities in our state. We are so happy that we’re gonna be here and we look forward from coming all over Indianapolis.”
Pacers owner Herb Simon purchased the Mad Ants in 2015.
You can watch the full press conference below.
The Noblesville Event Center is about 40 minutes from the St. Vincent Center in downtown Indianapolis where both the Mad Ants and Pacers practice. This new arena, however, is also at a different location than originally planned.
It will be located at I-69 and Olio Road, at an area referred to as Innovative Mile near the Hamilton Town Center and Ruoff Music Center. They’re excited for the location and its visibility, with an estimated 70,000 cars passing by each day on I-69.
The 85,000-square-foot arena will have about 3,400 seats and be attached to a parking structure, hotel and convention space. Already, there are four hotels nearby with another one expected to be built.
The Pacers’ G League team will occupy the event for game nights, but that’s it. So then the space will be home for conferences, community events, sporting events and entertainment. The city wants it to be the anchor at Innovative Mile for thinking and development.
“What a historic day for our community,” Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen began at the press conference. “I can say I know Rick Fuson enough to know that he did his due diligence about communities to land his G League team. He’s a tough negotiator and I know he chose Noblesville for a reason. And I want to thank him and his entire team for placing the trust and the future of his G League here in our hands going forward.
“This project was a genuinely heavy lift for a lot of us and an exciting one.”
Pacers vice president of basketball operations and cap management Ted Wu was on hand to represent the franchise — along with president/COO Mel Raines and president/CCO Todd Taylor. Mad Ants president Tim Bawmann, general manager Chris Taylor were also on hand.
The center and team will both have a new name by the time the Mad Ants play games in the space. You can count on “Noblesville” being included in the team name.
The G League currently has 31 teams, 29 connected to an NBA franchise and two independents. Next season, the Phoenix Suns will have an affiliate and thus all 30 NBA teams will be represented.
“This groundbreaking today is unique for us,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, who made the trip to Noblesville for the announcement. “We continue to see the G League grow. The G League is a global property. We have teams across all three countries in North America and our games are broadcast all around the world. So when we open this arena, Noblesville will be known all around the world to those basketball fans that follow the G League, that follow the NBA.”
Added NBA G-League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim. “Our league, over the past two decades, has become a premier destination for talent developing for the NBA. Over 50% of NBA players currently on rosters have G League experience. We’ve been a part of more than 900 players leaving our league and going on to the NBA. We are truly a place for growth and development.”
This adds to a memorable year for Pacers Sports & Entertainment that included the Indiana Fever selecting No. 1 overall for the first time, the opening of Bicentennial Unity Plaza, signing Tyrese Haliburton to the largest contract in franchise history, and extending coach Rick Carlisle’s contract.
Up next: Hosting NBA All-Star Weekend in February.