Nobody is officially divulging the new name, but here's some fodder for speculation: Conseco's namesake, the Carmel-based insurer formerly called Conseco Inc., changed its name in March 2010 to CNO Financial Group. CNO executives started talks with the Pacers about renaming the arena but ultimately decided the time wasn't right.
Conseco Fieldhouse, built by Mel and Herb Simon, opened in 1999 when the Pacers moved from their former home, Market Square Arena.
Pacers and CNO officials are expected to be on hand for Thursday's announcement. Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris could not be reached for comment late Monday.
But one Downtown player, the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel, may have jumped the gun. Its website boasts about its proximity to Conseco, "recently renamed CNO Financial Fieldhouse."Yes, she really did write that Conseco Fieldhouse was built by Herb and Mel Simon. She probably believes that it was the Simons' money that built Circle Centre Mall too. Here's a hint to these Gannett newbies. Don't believe a word Jim Morris and the other rent-a-civic leader propagandists tell you. Verify everything he tells you. It may prevent Ms. Gellers and her boss, Dennis Ryerson, from looking so stupid. Someone asked the other day about the members of the Indianapolis News Guild's efforts to "Save The Star": What's there left to save? Point taken. By the way, Ms. Gellers, taxpayers built Lucas Oil Stadium as well. Billionaire Jim Irsay is simply getting all the revenues from it while the taxpayers foot the bill to maintain it.
Will the Pacers be required to tell us now much the deal will net for them? How much money does the new NBA contract net for the billionaire Simon, which would be particularly useful to know since the team got a $33.5 million gift from the CIB over the past few years based on a totally bogus claim it was losing hundreds of millions of dollars. The Simons don't continue to operate and own anything that loses money. Just look at their abandoned malls if you doubt me. The CIB's current President, Ann Lathrop, has already hinted there may be additional permanent public assistance in the Pacers' future. Lathrop is the handpicked lackey of her predecessor, Bob Grand, whose Barnes & Thornburg law firm represents Simon.
UPDATE: Fellow blogger Fred McCarthy has a spot-on response to the Star's latest miscue:
Imagine our embarrassment! In a front page article in the morning paper about the possible re-naming of Conseco Fieldhouse we found the following information. "Conseco Fieldhouse, built by Mel and Herb Simon, opened in 1999 when the Pacers moved from their former home, Market Square Arena."
All this time we’ve been finding fault with the city subsidizing the Pacers, under the misapprehension that public funds had been used to build the palace in which they perform.
Our apologies to all concerned. The next time the Pacers say they are losing money and want more tax dollars, we’ll try to remember not to complain when the city’s response is, "How much, and do you want that in small unmarked bills?"