As Gainbridge Fieldhouse reopens in October, guests will see a wealth of new features.
The fieldhouse, which was renamed from Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sept. 27, is nearly at the conclusion of Phase 2 of the Fieldhouse of the Future project, a three-phase, $360 million renovation that began in April of 2020 and will continue through the fall of 2022. After being closed since the Pacers’ season ended in May, the fieldhouse reopens with a Dan and Shay concert Oct. 1 and the Indiana Pacers playing a preseason home game Oct. 13.
“We’ve taken the best, most iconic arena in the NBA and we’re making it even better, even more state-of-the-art, and even more appealing to a new generation of fans by creating a premium experience for all,” said Rick Fuson, president and chief operating officer of Pacers Sports & Entertainment and a Carmel resident.
Phase 1 concentrated on lower-level improvements and also included a new state-of-the-art scoreboard.
“Even if you were back last season, fans will be blown away by the number of changes we’ve made since we started construction in May,” said Mel Raines, executive vice president of corporate communications, community engagement and facility operations for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. “Everything on the main concourse and the Krieg DeVault level is going to be brand new. There are all new concessions and new restrooms. There are new seats on the Krieg DeVault level. We’ve added a nursing mothers’ rooms. We added a sensory room for those guests who might want to step out of the show or the game for a minute and have quiet time.”
New food offerings will be rolled out at the end of October
“We are opening up the sides of the fieldhouse, the east and west sides, with glass curtain walls,” Raines said. “The seating bowl is much more open to the concourses. Right when you walk in at the entry pavilion, you’ll see the scoreboard and feel like you are already at the game. On the north and south end, we are opening up new bars that will be done at the end of the year.”
A new bar area, the Yuengling Flight Deck, is at the south end of the building that also looks into the bowl.
Raines said with mobile ticketing, there isn’t a need for as much space as the box office occupied when the Fieldhouse opened in 1999. The new, smaller box office will be complete in December, but a temporary box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays on the corner of Maryland and Delaware streets.
“The new plaza that we started in March by taking down the parking garage on the north side (on Maryland Street), that construction will continue all the way through the season,” Raines said.
The plaza will have a basketball court during the summer months and an ice-skating rink, larger than the one at Rockefeller Center, in the winter.
There will be new grab-and-go concession stands that allow guests to collect their own food, beverages and merchandise, which speeds up transactions and makes for a touchless environment.
Raines said the skywalk from the Virginia Avenue garage will be widened.
“The intent of the project from the very beginning was to create the sense that you don’t want to miss the events at the fieldhouse,” she said. “We really wanted to create different areas for different generations that like to view events differently than they did in 1999. Younger fans who might want to stand at the bar and watch the game for half a game and sit in their seat for half the game have new options to do that.”
The suite numbers have been reduced from 64 to 52.
“We went from 28 to 38 on the lower level and 36 upper suites to 14,” Raines said. “We reconfigured the suites, so it’s like standing around your kitchen island like you would normally do at home and less of living room-style suites.”
Completing the balcony area is set for Phase 3 in the summer of 2022.
“Our hope is at the end of the renovation we will have touched all the areas that our guests will enjoy being in and we will have created a number of areas where we have something for everyone,” Raines said.