View Full Version : Pacers to play opener at BSU - article

08-19-2004, 09:26 AM
This is the best (only) Pacers new I could find today. sloowww...


Pacers to play opener at BSU

Preseason game against Wizards will be in Worthen Arena

Justin Hesser | Sports Editor

August 19, 2004

Muncie might not have been their first choice, but the Indiana Pacers are coming to town anyway.

Their first preseason game scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 11 against the Washington Wizards will be played in Worthen Arena.

The Pacers had the game scheduled but were unable to play at Conseco Fieldhouse, due to the FINA World Swimming Championships, which conclude on the same day. Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said the Pacers looked at Ball State and Purdue University.

Purdue, however, happened to be putting in a new clock and didn't believe it would be up in time for the game. That left Ball State.

"Essentially we ended up getting it by default," Cunningham said. "We did pursue it a little bit, and then everything just feel in place."

While it might be new for Ball State to host an NBA game, it's not new for the Pacers to play at college sites in Indiana. In fact, Ball State is one of the only college towns the team hasn't played at. Indiana Pacers Director of Public Information David Benner said the team played at Purdue, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indiana State and Bloomington.

Benner said this game just provided the Pacers with an opportunity to go play within the state.

Cunningham said he believes the good turnout Ball State got at the Colts first mini-camp practice had something to do with the decision, although it might not have had a direct effect.

More than 10,000 fans showed up for the practice, which featured a variety of activities including The Colts Band and Colts Cheerleaders.

"The crowd's enthusiasm did a lot for our players," Colts head coach Tony Dungy said in a press release at that time. "I was surprised. We felt there would be a crowd, but not like this."

Ball State started a dialogue with the Pacers after that event, seeing if they would be interested in doing something like an exhibition game or practice, Cunningham said.

"They were aware of it," Cunningham said. "They talked about the good coverage in the newspaper and all three television stations."

Another bit of help might have come from the person at the Pacers who schedules the team's preseason games. Cunningham said he was a former sports information director at Illinois, so he was familiar with Ball State and Worthen Arena.

"Everything leading up to it played a part in getting the game," Cunningham said.

For the athletics department, this event is another way to get exposure throughout the state and get more people to Ball State's facilities.

With names like Jermaine O'Neal, who was a candidate for the league Most Valualbe Player, Ron Artest, who was the Defensive Player of the Year last season, and Reggie Miller, Cunningham said he is hoping for a good turnout.

"They have great names associated with the team, and they're such a good team," Cunningham said. "I expect it will be well attended and the enthusiasm will be terrific."

Pacer fans on campus will undoubtedly jump at the chance to see their favorite team in their own backyard.

"I'm excited," junior Matt Jacobs said. "I think it will be fun because it will be an NBA game with a college atmosphere."

08-19-2004, 09:27 AM
Thanks for the article. Actually we've known about this for a while though through pacers.com

As a BSU student, I'm excited. :)