The entrance to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, October 2012
|Former names||Conseco Fieldhouse (1999-2011)|
|Address||125 South Pennsylvania Street|
|Owner||Capital Improvement Board, City of Indianapolis|
|Operator||Capital Improvement Board of Managers of Marion County, Indiana|
Ice hockey: 12,300
|Broke ground||July 22, 1997|
|Opened||November 6, 1999|
|Construction cost||$183 million|
($275 million in 2018 dollars)
|Project manager||John Klipsch Consulting, LLC|
|Structural engineer||Fink Roberts & Petrie Inc.|
|Services engineer||Moore Engineers, P.C.|
|Indiana Pacers (NBA) (1999-present)|
Indianapolis Ice (CHL) (1999–2004)
Indiana Fever (WNBA) (2000-2019, 2022-future)
Indiana Firebirds (AFL) (2001–2004)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse is an indoor arena located in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. It opened in November 1999 to replace Market Square Arena. The arena is the home of the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association and the Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association. The Fieldhouse also hosts college basketball games (including the annual Big Ten Conference tournaments), indoor concerts, and ice hockey.
It was originally named Conseco Fieldhouse, as the naming rights to the venue were sold to Conseco, a financial services organization based in nearby Carmel. In May 2010, the company renamed itself as CNO Financial Group, but the Conseco name was retained by the Fieldhouse. In December 2011, CNO Financial Group changed the name of the Fieldhouse to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, after one of its subsidiaries, Bankers Life and Casualty. The Fieldhouse announced on March 13, 2018, that CNO had decided not to renew its naming sponsorship, which expired on June 30, 2019.
In April 2019, a major renovation project for the Fieldhouse was approved by the Marion County Capital Improvement Board. The $360 million project will include a new outdoor entry plaza, new indoor gathering areas, and various interior enhancements. As part of the renovation agreement, the Pacers committed to remaining in Indianapolis for at least 25 more years. Construction will take place in two phases, with the Fieldhouse hosting the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in between the phases. Almost all of the construction work will take place during Pacers offseasons. The project will displace the Fever for all of the 2020 and 2021 WNBA seasons, as well as at least part of the 2022 season; that team has announced it will play at Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse during that time.
Unlike most other North American sports arenas, the Fieldhouse was designed primarily for basketball. The arena can accommodate an NHL-sized rink, but the seating capacity is reduced to 12,300 for ice hockey, as the seating arrangement is asymmetrical.
The first NBA game held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse was on November 6, 1999 when the Indiana Pacers played their regular-season home opener against the Boston Celtics. Later that same season, the Pacers made it to the 2000 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Games 3, 4, and 5 of that championship series were held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but the Pacers ended up losing that season's title four games to two.
In 2000, Bankers Life Fieldhouse was also the site for the 2000 Ray Miron President's Cup finals. A couple games of the series were held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Indianapolis Ice won the series against the now-defunct Columbus Cottonmouths 4 games to 3 and the cup.
Some of the games of the 2002 FIBA World Championship were played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, including semifinals and the final.
In 2009, Bankers Life Fieldhouse was the site for the 2009 WNBA Finals. The Indiana Fever took on the Phoenix Mercury for games 3 and 4 of that series, but ended up losing the series. Three years later, the Fever hosted the 2012 WNBA Finals for games 3 and 4 and beat the Minnesota Lynx.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse is a host venue for many different events besides home games for the Pacers and Fever. From 2002 to 2007, the venue served as the site of the Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament in even numbered years while the tournament was held at the United Center in Chicago in odd numbered years. In 2008, the tournament was moved to Bankers Life Fieldhouse exclusively for five years, through 2012. The arena is also a frequent site of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament. 2012 will mark the 12th time in 13 years that the tournament has been held at the Fieldhouse. On June 5, 2011, the Big Ten Conference announced that beginning in 2013 the location of both of the conference basketball tournaments for the following four years would be alternated between the Chicago area and Indianapolis. Bankers Life Fieldhouse would again be the site for both men's and women's events in 2014 and 2016. The 2011 NCAA Women's Final Four was also held at the Fieldhouse on April 3 and April 5 of 2011. For basketball, the venue seats 17,923 (18,345 from 1999 to 2006, 18,165 from 2006 to 2016).
Additionally, the Indiana Firebirds of the Arena Football League played at the Fieldhouse from 2001 to 2004 and the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League also played at the Fieldhouse from 1999 to 2004. The venue also hosted select games for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League.
The Professional Bull Riders brought its Built Ford Tough Series bull riding tour, now known as the Unleash the Beast Series, to the Fieldhouse for the first time in January 2011. It was their second visit to Indianapolis; they first visited Indianapolis during the 2004 season when they held a BFTS event at the RCA Dome.
Bankers Life is one of many concert venues in the city of Indianapolis. On March 11, 2019, Metallica set a new attendance record at the venue with 18,274 fans at the venue. The previous record was held by Billy Joel (16,594).
In addition to professional events, the arena also hosts the IHSAA state finals in wrestling as well as both girls and boys basketball. It also occasionally hosts other high school tournaments as well.
The Fieldhouse is notable for being the location of many landmark moments for the professional wrestling group The Shield, who debuted on November 18, 2012 at Survivor Series, broke up on the June 2nd, 2014 episode of WWE Raw and reunited on the October 9, 2017 episode of WWE Raw.
In 2005 and 2006, Bankers Life Fieldhouse was ranked the No. 1 venue in the NBA according to the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily Reader Survey. In 2006 The Ultimate Sports Road Trip reaffirmed Bankers Life Fieldhouse as the best venue in all 4 of the major sports leagues. "The Ultimate Sports Road Trip has recently concluded a re-scoring and re-evaluation of all 122 franchises in the four major sports, based on our personal visits to each of the teams in a journey that began in 1998. Based on our criteria, Bankers Life Fieldhouse has again withstood scrutiny to be named the "best of the best" in the four major sports. Everything about Bankers Life Fieldhouse is top notch, a sparkling venue in a sparkling city," said Farrell and Kulyk.
In October 2004, the Fieldhouse hosted the 2004 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships. A 25-meter 300,000-gallon competition pool and 174,000-gallon warm-up pool were temporarily installed. A total of 71,659 tickets were sold for the four-day event. The crowd on the evening of Saturday, October 11, 2004 set a record for the largest attendance at a U.S. Swimming event outside of the Olympics with 11,488 people.
In 2012, a giant state-of-the-art scoreboard was added to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The scoreboard features twin 1080p high definition (HD) video screens, each measuring 50 feet long - extending nearly foul line to foul line - by 21 feet high. In addition to the HD screens running the length of the court, the innovative rectangular scoreboard design is capped by a 25'-by-14' full 1080p HD video screen facing each baseline. The result of the design is a greatly improved visual experience from nearly every seat in the building. Additionally, a new sound system was installed.