Indiana Governor gives green light to venue development plan

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has signed off on plans to dedicate almost $400m (£306m/€356m) to arena and stadium projects for the Pacers NBA basketball team and United Soccer League franchise Indy Eleven.

A bill for the financing plans was signed on Monday, paving the way for the Pacers’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena (pictured) to be renovated. The project will ensure the Pacers’ long-term status in Indianapolis, with the team last month signing a 25-year deal to remain in the city.

Under the terms of the Pacers’ agreement, $270m will be directed to the renovation project from the state and the Marion County Capital Improvement Board.

Holcomb’s approval also sets up a tax subsidy district towards 80 per cent of Indy Eleven’s proposed $150m stadium. The club has long-term ambitions of entering Major League Soccer and in January unveiled a $550m development that will be underpinned by the 20,000-seat multi-purpose stadium.

Indy Eleven currently plays at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, under a deal that can be extended annually. The 67,000-capacity stadium is deemed too large for the team’s needs and the club has a preference for a smaller-scale venue.

The approval comes after the Indiana Senate gave the bill the go-ahead last week.

In a statement, the Eleven Park development team said: “With the Governor’s signature, we are ready to kick off a new era for Indy Eleven professional soccer and the world’s most popular sport in Indiana – with no new taxes and no appropriations from city or state governments.

“The state legislative process is now complete. We will now continue along the path to fully capturing this one-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of the world’s game in our capital city. The project will now proceed to the City of Indianapolis where we will work to create the public-private partnership that is described in the Eleven Park proposal.”

Images: Indiana Pacers