City of Noblesville OKs resolution for NBA G League arena project


City leaders in Noblesville have approved a resolution outlining the terms to develop an 85,000-square-foot arena that will serve as the home of the Mad Ants, an affiliate in the NBA G League.

The city and Pacers Sports & Entertainment announced on Monday that they were forming a partnership to bring the Mad Ants, who currently play in Fort Wayne, to Noblesville in Finch Creek Park, which is located on the city’s east side. Noblesville plans to build a 3,400-seat arena that will cost $36.5 million to accommodate the Mad Ants’ move, officials said.

The Noblesville Common Council unanimously approved the resolution on Tuesday stipulating the terms between the city and Pacers Sports & Entertainment for the proposed development, which is expected to open during the 2024-25 season. The Mad Ants would play at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the interim, officials said.

The city is committing $36.5 million and will be responsible for issuing bonds to finance the design and construction of the facility, according to a 10-year partnership agreement. The agreement also includes $5 million in cash investment from Pacers Sports & Entertainment, which will also lead an effort to secure another $5 million in naming rights and signage over those 10 years.

The Pacers will rent the event center for 10 years with a one 10-year option with average rent averaging $500,000 annually over the 10-year term, according to the agreement.

Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen said earlier this week that the city is working with the Pacers and other partners on programming options for the arena on days it is not used by the Pacers. The facility would be available for events like IHSAA tournaments and competitions, concerts, conferences, corporate events and graduations, he added.

Jensen also said the city wants to use the arena as a catalyst for further development at Finch Creek Park, noting that the public will see additional amenities added into the city’s master plan for the area.

“Further steps are being taken to finalize development and programming partners, which may also incorporate additional project features and recreational amenities,” Jensen said.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson said the franchise will remain the Mad Ants through the 2023-24 season. A new mascot will be unveiled prior to the 2024-25 season, he said.