Pacers owner wants to extend lease, ensure team remains in Indiana

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Though Herb Simon is well into his third act, the soon-to-be 83-year-old intends to ensure his Pacers remain in place long after he's gone.

“I want to leave my legacy: This team permanently in Indianapolis,” Simon told Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel. “That’s my No. 1 goal.”

The earliest the team could conceivably leave the Midwest for greener pastures is after the 2023-24 season, when the Pacers' 25-year lease at Bankers Life Fieldhouse expires. Simon said the lease could be extended for an additional 20 or 25 years with minimal renovations to the facility, paving the way for the team's long-term existence in the only city the organization has ever known.

“The city’s been very good to me and my family - very good," Simon told Doyel. "It’s a small city, and a lot of people would love to have a franchise and move (the Pacers) to a bigger city, but my purpose and all the plans I’ve made for the succession is to extend the lease and be here."

Simon and his older brother purchased the Pacers in 1983. While Melvin Simon died in 2009, Herb Simon has gone on to become the longest-tenured owner in the league today.

Upon Herb Simon's death, his son, Steve Simon, will take over the reins as the team's owner, keeping the team in the immediate family, allowing fans to breathe a sigh of relief.

“If anything happens to me, he'd be taking over,” Herb Simon said of his progeny.