Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Gainbridge Fieldhouse 125 S Pennsylvania St Indianapolis, IN 46204
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 18,165
The Gainbridge Fieldhouse is All New
Gainbridge Fieldhouse is nearing the completion of a three-phase renovation that transformed the Indiana Pacers' home into a modern facility with all the amenities of the 20s. The roughly $360 million will be incurred in the remodeling efforts, which includes a list of changes in this link.
The building has new club seating and suites, renovated upper and lower bowls, and two additional club seating areas. Three distinct lower-level premium club experiences will also highlight the efforts that include two VIP member clubs that pay homage to the Pacer's former homes at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (1967-1974) and Market Square Arena (1974-1999).
The lobby's box offices are replaced with windows that open it up to the outside surroundings, including the Bicentennial Unity Plaza, which will open in the spring of 2023. There are all-new seating, social areas, two bars that open up to the court, and remodeled concession stands.
GainbridgeFieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, debuted November 6, 1999, as Conseco Fieldhouse. It would be known as Bankers Life Fieldhouse until September 2021. The seating capacity has increased from 17,923 to a whopping 20,000 - making it the 5th largest in the NBA.
Food & Beverage 4
The food and beverage options have been updated at the fieldhouse and include new and familiar options. The Warehouse District BBQ and Three Point Taqueria are two options that offer fans something different at the game. The Indiana Kitchen offers lemon pepper and honey glazed chicken wings, short rib poutine, and maple bourbon sticks.
If you are looking for familiar options then Fieldhouse Favorites has you covered. Hot dogs, nachos, chicken tenders, pizza, burgers, pretzels, and Pepsi products are all available. There is a value menu that features $4 hot dogs, $3 popcorn, and $8 PBR and Coors Banquet cans.
A unique sweet treat is served at the Steak 'n Shake Milkshake Bar which offers cotton candy, mega M&M, and crazy chocolate brownie flavors.
The Fast Break Market sells grab 'n-go beverages and snacks. A nacho cart offers an array of toppings and Ben's Pretzels has long lines for freshly, made baked pretzels. The Crossroads Eats sells gourmet hot dogs. The Yuengling Flight Deck and the Jim Beam Bar offer beers, wine, and cocktails. It also has various TV screens and views of the playing court.
The Pacers have done a splendid job of creating an energetic atmosphere that starts in the main lobby. The atrium itself mimics offers large windows, allowing natural lighting to fill up the area, and features banners of current players and a large roundel chandelier overlooking the half-circular staircase leading up to the main concourse.
At times, the ceremonies in the lobby area include a barbershop quartet, a live band, or a drum band getting ready for the game. Fans are provided the chance to take in this musical environment as they purchase their tickets and walk up the stairs being greeted by staff and cheerleaders.
The concourse has been revamped and features basketball-theme murals that are both popping with collar and creativity, along with honoring past greats who have suited up for the Pacers, Indiana Fever (WNBA), and high school teams of the state. Sadly, many of the trophy cases that once displayed basketball memorabilia are now gone, including the three ABA trophies and various team jerseys of the past.
A $4.3 million 20 feet by 52.5 feet video scoreboard includes underbelly panels for improving sightlines for fans sitting next to the court. This is surrounded by team banners of retired jerseys, league titles, and division championships.
The Pacers’ gift shop has an array of team merchandise but is a little cramped for the size of the arena. However, a couple of stands and one station can personalize a jersey with your name on it located on the main concourse.
The fieldhouse is in the heart of downtown Indianapolis and even closer to retail and restaurants than Lucas Oil Stadium down the street. The only problem is choosing which place to grab a drink or eat before or after the game.
Located near the arena is the local favorite Kilroy’s Bar and Grill offers 40 flat-screen televisions, shuffleboard, video games, and their famous pepperoni stuffed breadsticks. Another fan favorite, Brother’s Bar & Grill, is a short walk and is another popular destination before or after the game. A few more favorite spots after the game that are nearby the fieldhouse are District Tap, Tequila Street Cantina, and Pier 48 Fish House & Oyster Bar.
If you have some time in town I would recommend visiting the neighborhoods of Mass Ave. and Fountain Square where one can enjoy live music, craft beer, fine dining, and a little shopping at local retail shops. Mass Ave. is also home to the Bottlework District which recently opened and houses The Garage where multiple foods and drink vendors offer an array of culinary treasures.
Downtown Indy is also safe, clean, and easy to get around by car, foot, or mass transit. Local museums include The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indiana State Museum, and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. The riverwalk canal is also a nice spot for a stroll on a warm spring day.
The fan base can be fickle at times when the team is not playing at playoff caliber, but that is expected for many others across the nation. With that being said, there are legions of dedicated fans who wear blue and gold no matter what the team’s record is at the moment. The fans are friendly towards visitors and make themselves heard through various cheering sections throughout the building. One thing is for certain, most people enjoy their time during a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The arena is easily accessible from the major interstates of 70, 65, and 465 with parking abundant throughout the downtown vicinity. After the game, exiting these facilities takes a little know-how of the one-way streets of Indianapolis, but signs are posted that direct customers to their desired route back home.
Traffic moves smoothly during this time as well, as there are officers who are stationed to keep cars moving. The same can be said for moving around the building during the game. Bathrooms, entrances, and seating areas are well-marked.
Return on Investment 4
The price of a ticket depends on who the team is playing. They can cost as low as $8 on the secondary market depending on the opponent and time of the week. However, ticket prices rise against popular opponents and on the weekends. The average price of a ticket will be between $25-30 on most nights.
Parking ranges from $10-$20 the closer you arrive to the fieldhouse. I would recommend parking at the Circle City Centre Mall where the average price is $5 for five hours of parking. Metered parking is enforced until 11 PM on the street.
The seats in the upper deck can be a little steep, but they do provide a great view of the court and play. There are many great vantage points from many levels and courtside seats put you almost in the play of the game. The organization provides affordable tickets that include mini-game packages that are posted on billboards across the city.
The building itself provides wonderful aesthetics that begin in the main lobby and continues with vintage advertisements painted on brick walls. The collection of memorabilia showcases the building as a basketball-first facility. There is an impressive array of items from former professional clubs from the city, local high schools, and the major universities and colleges in the state. A great location near many bars, restaurants, and a few shops. The area is well-lit, clean, and safe. If you enjoy walking, explore downtown on foot.
Sadly, much of the basketball memorabilia has been due to renovations. The numerous trophy cases housed a treasure trove of Pacers, high school, and college programs, and jerseys. photos and history are all gone. There is still a little left behind, but the arena no longer feels like a basketball fieldhouse, but more of an entertainment venue that will appeal to different events. It is understandable, but this is what made the fieldhouse stand out among others in the league. However, once you sit in your seats, you will have plenty of new and familiar options to enjoy a game.