UPDATE (05/09/2023): On Tuesday, the Noblesville Common Council unanimously approved the public-private partnership agreement with Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Original story below.
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — The Fort Wayne Mad Ants will soon be no more as the City of Noblesville and Pacers Sports & Entertainment announced plans to move the NBA G League team to a new home in Noblesville where the team will rebrand before the start of the 2024-2025 season.
In order to accommodate the move, the City of Noblesville announced plans to build a new 3,400 seat, 85,000-square-foot arena near Finch Creek Park on the city’s east side with construction scheduled to begin this fall.
Noblesville has pledged $36.5 million to go toward building the new arena with the Pacers contributing $5 million over 10 years to the project. Noblesville stated that the Pacers would also be leading the effort to secure an additional $5 million in naming rights.
“We are excited to welcome Pacers Sports & Entertainment to Noblesville along with the players, coaches and staff of the G League team,” said Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen. “The Pacers are an iconic brand with deep roots in central Indiana. Partnering with such an impactful organization opens numerous opportunities for our community and drives forward our efforts for a larger sports and entertainment district with enhanced partnerships.”
The new Noblesville arena is anticipated to open during the 2024-2025 season. The Mad Ants will continue to play under their current name for the 2023-2024 season with games being held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse until the new Noblesville arena is completed.
Due to the Mad Ants name having a special tie to Fort Wayne — honoring “Mad” Anthony Wayne — the team will retire the Mad Ants nickname prior to the 2024-2025 season and choose a new mascot. The new mascot will be unveiled at a future date.
The Mad Ants have been in Fort Wayne since 2007.
The City of Noblesville expects to draw 65,000 fans annually to G League games but said the arena would be used to further draw in sports visitors along with hosting other events.
“We are 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,” Jensen said.
The 10-year partnership agreement between the City of Noblesville and Pacers Sports & Entertainment will be presented at the Noblesville Common Council meeting on May 9.
“The G League is world-class basketball, and PS&E is proud to bring that to Noblesville as we strengthen our basketball operations and enhance player development in one of the state’s most vibrant and growing communities,” said Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson.
The Mad Ants move to Noblesville is the second team to relocate to Hamilton County in recent months. The Indy Fuel recently broke ground on a new arena being built in Fishers.