It was coming down to the wire, but it looks like the city of Indianapolis has locked in the Pacers to keep the franchise in its native city, which it has been in since 1967.
Think about that for a tick. When the Pacers started playing basketball in Indy, the Beatles had three more years left in them (kind of). They pre-date the musical Hair . The Super Bowl is a hair older than them. But times are tough, and the Pacers' basketball decisions tougher, and there's been talk of the team relocating if a new arena deal couldn't be hammered out, with team ownership looking for the city to absorb operating costs at Conseco Fieldhouse.
But the Indianapolis Star reports today that ownership and the city have come to an agreement , where the city is not fronting a majority of costs for the arena, but is taking on over $33 million over the next three years. To coincide with that payment, strict penalities of up to $15+ million have been put into place if the team were to attempt to leave early. That's in addition to an early termination penalty of $20 million, essentially locking in the Pacers until 2019 and keeping the franchise home.
It's a good agreement, with solid compromise on both sides, that is being met with fierce opposition, as pretty much anything that involves tax dollars is these days. Billionaire owners wanting a hand with cleaning the floors does not go over well, in this, or any economy. Seattle decided as a city to stick to their guns and not buckle to ownership demands about the arena, and paid the price when it gave Clay Bennett the opportunity to relocate, which he was looking to do anyway. This is an issue that will continue to be fiercely debated until a standard is set in the courts or elsewhere.
But for right now, Pacers fans can breathe easy knowing their team will be playing in Indy for the forseeable future.