INDIANAPOLIS, In. (WTXL) — Indiana is basketball, so there really was no better place to host the entire NCAA Tournament this year. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is where Florida State will play Michigan in the Sweet 16, and it is the perfect blend of old school hoops mixed with modern flair.
"It's really an homage to a lot of the Fieldhouse gyms that you see in cities and towns all across Indiana," said Danny Lopez, who works with Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
Built in 1999, the architects behind Bankers Life drew inspiration from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. That was the look they were going for.
"It's iconic. It's unlike any other arena in the NBA in terms of how it looks and how it feels," said Lopez. "There's not a bad seat in the house."
A house that in a normal year hosts over 500 events, from Disney on Ice, to Pacers games, to high school state championships.
"This was built as a community asset is what it is," said Lopez. "It's built right in the heart of downtown, it's an anchor for downtown. It's something that's near and dear to a lot of Hoosier's hearts."
Near and dear for locals, and giving fans a look inside Hoosier Country.
"Basketball is a birthright for Hoosiers, for people in Indiana," said Lopez. "It's something that's very special here and people take very seriously. Indianapolis does this, and the state of Indiana does this pretty well. There just aren't a lot of cities that can do this this way, which is why the NCAA tapped us to do it."
Normally, Bankers Life seats around 18,000 fans. With COVID restrictions, around 3,500 will be allowed in per game. Florida State plays Michigan Sunday at 5:00.