Indianapolis better have a few million dollars ready, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars ready for arena renovations if the city wants the team to stay beyond 2024.
Since June 17, 1976, the Indianapolis-based Indiana Pacers seemed to always be cash poor. That was the date the Pacers franchise along with the New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets joined the NBA. The price to join the league? A $3.2 million payment.
The Indiana Pacers franchise hit rough financial times following the merger. The franchise owners were struggling in the final year of the ABA and all of a sudden not only had to pay the $3.2 million NBA entry fee but pay off the owners of the Kentucky Colonels and Spirits of St. Louis who were not invited to join the NBA. Indiana, along with the Nets, Denver and San Antonio would not get national TV monies until the 1980-81 season. The franchise needed a $100,000 cash infusion to make it through the first NBA and then held a telethon on the Fourth of July to sell season tickets. Had the team not sold 8,000 by July 31, 1977, the franchise was going to be put up for sale to the highest bidder whether it was someone who wanted to keep the team in Indianapolis or someone who wanted to move the franchise.
The telethon worked as the team hit the 8,000 season tickets sold mark but it was a temporary fix. The team was mediocre and struggling financially. In 1982, there were rumors that the franchise might merge with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The NBA drug testing/salary cap collective bargaining agreement saved the franchise. A new building came in 1999.
Paul George more than likely won’t be with Indianapolis where the arena lease between the city and Herb Simon ends in 2024.