Pacers top Forbes 'value for money' NBA list


The Indiana Pacers are doing very well this season. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

According to Forbes, they're also doing well off the court. Forbes' annual list of NBA valuations calls the Pacers one of the best NBA teams for the money.

It estimates the Pacers' worth at $475 million, up 24 percent or $92 million from last year.

While the Pacers don't share their financial information, several fans we talked to at Shapiro's say the numbers make sense.

"I'm not surprised. It seems like they've gotten their act together," said Oliver Wojtyna.

Jamon Randolph agreed. "When you go to a game now, you don't see as many empty seats, you see people rushing home to watch the game on TV. You hear it on the radio and they're not giving away as many free tickets as they used to."

The Forbes profile of the Pacers reads in part, "Fans are finally embracing the Pacers after seven straight seasons of ranking 25th or worse in attendance. Individual ticket sales were up 50 percent before the start of the 13-14 season and package sales jumped 30 percent. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is filled to more than 93 percent capacity halfway through the current season."

The numbers come as the Pacers and the city's Capital Improvement Board negotiate a new long-term contract, one that's likely to include further subsidies.

Predicting a $30 million loss in 2010, the Pacers asked the city to help pay for running the Fieldhouse. Though the lease signed in 1999 says operations is the responsibility of the Pacers, the city didn't want to lose the team. It amended the contract several times since then, giving the Pacers $64.5 million to cover operations and upgrades.

Asked whether those payments should continue, even though the Pacers appear to be in much better financial shape, Randolph said, "it's almost like a double-edge sword because they're doing well and we want to keep them here, but the value has risen so we'll have to pay more."

Wojtyna agreed, "I guess it's a negotiating move on the Pacers part. I don't see them wanting to leave the city but it doesn't hurt to come to the table and ask."

The Pacers, members of the CIB and mayor's office won't comment on negotiations. They will only say talks are continuing and they're hopeful they'll reach a new deal soon.

Since Fieldhouse operating expenses are expected to be key part of the deal, Eyewitness News asked the CIB for a summary of them. It provided a list from the Pacers which put total expenses at $13.9 million for the 2012-2013 budget year.

Building personnel costs top the list of 13 expenses at $5.2 million. Utilities follow at $2.3 million with building maintenance and repairs listed at $1.3 million and security at $1.1 million. Other expenses listed include contract labor and cleaning, insurance, event booking fees, other operating expenses, payroll processing and technology, digital boards operations and maintenance, equipment storage, Ober parking lot lease and advertising and Fieldhouse website.

A notation at the bottom says the $13.9 million doesn't not include the "approximately $300,000 per year of allocated shared expenses for the costs of copiers, telephones, computers, payroll processing and related items." It goes on to say that other types of personnel related to the team including media, studio broadcasting and community relations are cost "borne separately by Pacers Basketball, LLC.

While the original lease requires the Pacers to pay for maintenance and operations of the Fieldhouse it does provide them 100% of all revenue from other events they book at the Fieldhouse. That includes such things as concerts, Disney on Ice, the circus and scores of other events.

See Forbes' NBA valuations list