The Indiana Pacers NBA basketball team has completed the first phase of renovation work at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with a limited number of fans able to sample the upgrades during yesterday’s (Sunday’s) game against the Toronto Raptors.

The Pacers are in the midst of a three-year renovation project for Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which also serves as the home of Women’s NBA team Indiana Fever. The first phase was recently completed and focused exclusively on the interior of the arena with a ‘bottom-up’ approach.

The Pacers were able to welcome 1,000 fans for yesterday’s games and spectators were able to test out new seats and a retractable seating system in the main bowl. Existing suites and premium areas were also updated, while two new exclusive clubs were created and a new centre-hung scoreboard was fitted.

The work began last February and although progress was initially halted by COVID-19, the project was completed on time. The new scoreboard was not initially included in the first phase of the project but was a late addition, with the Pacers partnering with experience design company ANC on the new display, which features more than 3,350 square feet of video area, two LED rings and underbelly rings.

New dark grey seats have also been fitted in the arena’s main bowl, replacing the original green seats that had been in place since the venue opened in 1999. Green seats are still in place on the Krieg DeVault and Balcony levels but will be replaced in future phases.

Additionally, all suites on the KeyBank level have been modernised and updated, and 10 new suites and two new loge terraces have been added. Further updates have been made to the Courtside Club adjacent to the Pacers locker room, with the space to have reduced capacity on game nights and more custom food and beverage options.

Two new clubs have also been fitted on the east and west sides of the event level: PointsBet Hardwood Club and the ’67 Club. Each space will be open exclusively to spectators sitting in the main bowl sections on that side of the court. PointsBet Hardwood Club will be a modern sports bar with LED screens, while the ’67 Club will have a more “sophisticated, speakeasy vibe”.

To make way for the new spaces, the Salesforce Court, the practice court of the Fever, has been raised to street level and fitted with a new playing surface. Raising the court will allow for easier access for community and youth events, and create space on the event level for a new Fever locker room.

Further renovations include improvements to the KeyBank level, a new star complex for concerts and events, a new media workroom and upgrades to the event level kitchen.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment president and chief operating officer Rick Fuson said: “I was one of the guys that was part of building it in 1999, and I didn’t think it could get better. Well, it has gotten better. It really is a new building.”

Todd Taylor, the team’s executive vice-president and chief sales and marketing officer, added: “We’ve done a lot of homework and found that people are really wanting experiences within the experience they’re already getting at our events. They’re searching for different destinations within the building in which to spend time and interact in different ways.”

The second and third phases of construction will continue as planned over the next two years, with the focus to now turn to the Krieg DeVault and Balcony levels along with the exterior of the arena.

Image: Bankers Life Fieldhouse