The Indiana Pacers may not be winners, but Conseco Inc. is. The money managerment firm has won the naming rights for the Pacers' new arena.
The Conseco Fieldhouse will open in November 1999 for the 1999-2000 National Basketball Association season, seating 18,500 fans. Plans call for the facility to have a "retro" look highlighting Indiana's basketball heritage.
Conseco Chairman Stephen Hil-bert, Pacers President Donnie Walsh, Pacers co-owners Herbert and Melvin Simon, and Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith announced the plans at a recent press conference.
Under the 20-year agreement, Carmel, Ind.-based Conseco will pay $2 million a year, with the possibility of an increase in years 11 through 20.
"Experience from other companies indicates name sponsorships build national name recognition more quickly than any other form of advertising," said Mr. Hilbert.
An ardent home-team sponsor, Conseco donates money to local charities for each Pacers' 3-point shot and for each first down made by the Indianapolis Colts. The company also advertises at home games, and sponsored a pole sitter car for this year's Indianapolis 500.
Mr. Goldsmith in a statement said, "Indianapolis' competitive position requires enlightened corporate involvement. Conseco's commitment will allow us to be competitive in the NBA game."