Market Square Arena

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Market Square Arena
Market Square Arena 1982.jpg
Market Square Arena in 1982, with one of two parking garages on the middle left
Location300 East Market Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Coordinates39°46′6″N 86°9′7″W / 39.76833°N 86.15194°W / 39.76833; -86.15194Coordinates: 39°46′6″N 86°9′7″W / 39.76833°N 86.15194°W / 39.76833; -86.15194
OwnerCity of Indianapolis
OperatorCity of Indianapolis
CapacityBasketball: 16,530
Ice hockey: 15,993
ScoreboardAmerican Sign & Indicator, now Trans-Lux
Broke groundOctober 20, 1971
OpenedSeptember 15, 1974
ClosedOctober 24, 1999
DemolishedJuly 8, 2001
Construction cost$23 million ($121 million in 2020 dollars[1])
ArchitectArchitects 4 (A Joint Venture):
Kennedy, Brown & Associates
Fleck, Burkart, Shropshire, Boots, Reid & Associates
McGuire & Shook Corporation[2]
Structural engineerJ. Robert Carlton & Associates Inc.[2]
General contractorHuber, Hunt & Nichols
Indiana Pacers (ABA/NBA) (1974–1999)
Indianapolis Racers (WHA) (1974–1978)
Indiana Loves (WTT) (1978)
Indianapolis Checkers (IHL) (1985–1987)
Indianapolis Ice (IHL) (1994–1997)
Indiana Twisters (CISL) (1996–1997)

Market Square Arena was an indoor arena in Indianapolis. Completed in 1974, at a cost of $23 million, it seated 16,530 for basketball and 15,993 for ice hockey. Seating capacity for concerts and other events was adjusted by the use of large curtains which sealed off the upper rows.


Market Square Arena in 1988.

In the late 1960s, the city of Indianapolis studied several market areas of the city for future development and revitalization. Students from the fourth-year design studio class at Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning met with the City of Indianapolis to review and select 20–26 projects for consideration. Students Joseph Mynhier and Terry Pastorino selected downtown Indianapolis as their market and designed what would become Market Square Arena. The design envisioned by Mynhier and Pastorino was later selected and used as a promotional tool by the City of Indianapolis for construction of the stadium. The city selected four architectural firms to complete the arena design with two representatives from each of the four companies. Terry Pastorino, who had worked for the firm of Kennedy, Brown & Trueblood during the summer of 1970 on the project, later joined the firm working on the arena.

The original student design included a four-story office building covering two city blocks. As constructed, the arena consisted of a unique space frame design spanning Market Street. The playing floor was elevated over Market Street by twin 1400-space parking garages on each side of Market Street. Market Street, which already was physically terminated on the west by the Indiana Statehouse, was visually terminated on the east by the arena. The final design eventually took up one city block spanning Market Street.[3]

The arena was built using a $16 million contribution from the city of Indianapolis.[3]


Market Square Arena's original center-hung scoreboard was an American Sign and Indicator scoreboard with monochrome matrix screens, similar to those which would be installed at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Joe Louis Arena. Its replacement, a different American Sign and Indicator scoreboard with a color matrix screen on each side, was installed in time for the 1985 NBA All-Star Game and remained at the arena for the rest of its life, where it would later be complemented by front-projection video screens on each end of the arena.


The Pacers moved to the new Conseco Fieldhouse, now Gainbridge Fieldhouse, for the 1999–2000 NBA season, and Market Square Arena was demolished on July 8, 2001, in a multimillion-dollar implosion.[4] It only took 12 seconds to demolish the arena completely.

Prior to the demolition, the basketball court surface was removed. It is now housed at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport in White River State Park.[5]

The site of the former arena was a parking lot for over a decade. The parking lot held a memorial to Elvis Presley, who played his final concert at MSA on June 26, 1977. The memorial was designed and built by Alan Clough.

In January 2017, Cummins opened its Global Distribution Headquarters on the southern half of the site.[6] A 28-story apartment building named 360 Market Square and containing a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) Whole Foods Market store opened in March 2018, with the Elvis memorial placed on the sidewalk adjacent to the building.[7]



Market Square Arena was best known as the home of the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association from 1974 to 1999.

The first Pacers basketball game held in the arena was a preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks; attendance was 16,929. The first regular-season ABA game in the arena was held on October 18, 1974, against the San Antonio Spurs; the Pacers lost in double overtime, 129–121 in front of 7,473 fans. The first Pacers victory in Market Square Arena came on October 23 with a 122–107 win over the Spirits of St. Louis. The 1974–75 season ended for the Pacers with the ABA Finals played in Market Square Arena and Freedom Hall against their archrivals, the Kentucky Colonels. The Colonels defeated the Pacers in that championship series, winning the ABA title in five games (4 wins to 1). The 1975–76 Pacers won their final home ABA game in Market Square Arena with a 109–95 victory against the Colonels. (Kentucky won the next game by one point to win the series and advance, ending the Pacers' ABA tenure.) The Pacers played in Market Square Arena after they joined the NBA. Michael Jordan's return to the Chicago Bulls after his first retirement took place at Market Square Arena in a loss to the Pacers on March 19, 1995.[8]

The arena also hosted the 1980 NCAA men's basketball Final Four, which was won by the University of Louisville. and the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now Horizon League) men's basketball conference tournament from 1986 to 1988 and again in 1993.

David Robinson, left, stands with some of his teammates at Market Square Arena after they were awarded silver medals for their performance in the 1987 Pan American Games.

In 1987, Indianapolis hosted the Pan American Games, and the basketball event was held at Market Square.[9] The gold-medal game pitted Brazil against the United States. The U.S. team of college players featured two All-Americans in David Robinson and Danny Manning, two Final Four MVPs in Pervis Ellison and Keith Smart, and several other future NBA players. The U.S. team led 68–54 at halftime, but Oscar Schmidt led Brazil to a stunning comeback, finishing with 46 points as Brazil won 120–115.

Market Square Arena was the primary concert venue for virtually all national and international musical acts visiting Indiana until its demolition in 2001. While many concerts moved to the Deer Creek Music Center amphitheater during summer months after that venue opened in 1989, Market Square remained the primary concert venue for large acts visiting the city of Indianapolis. Market Square hosted acts from Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, Kenny Rogers, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Grateful Dead, KISS, and several Black Expo performances.

Other events held at Market Square included circuses, Ice Capades, monster truck shows, indoor motocross racing, and rodeos.

Market Square Arena was also the home of the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA from 1974 to 1979. 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky starred for the Racers in his first professional action before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers after a handful of games.[10]

Notable events[edit]

The first event held at the arena was a Glen Campbell concert on September 15, 1974.[11]

Elvis Presley performed his final live concert here, in front of 18,000 people, on June 26, 1977, seven weeks before his death.[12]

The Bee Gees performed here on July 26, 1979 as part of their Spirits Having Flown Tour.

Billy Graham's 1980 Indiana Crusade, featuring a young Bill Gaither as one of the musical guests, was the most attended event at the arena in its history.

Jimmy Swaggart held a crusade in the arena in July 1988. The arena was filled to capacity over the weekend of July 22–24 for each session.

Jimmy Swaggart held a crusade at Market Square Arena in 1988.

Pat Benatar performed during her Precious Time tour on August 19, 1981.

Mötley Crüe filmed their music video for "Wild Side" here on July 18, 1987, which contains footage of drummer Tommy Lee's spinning drum cage.

The video for John Mellencamp's song "Check It Out" was filmed during a concert at the arena on December 11, 1987.[13]

Andre The Giant won the WWF Heavyweight Championship, ending Hulk Hogan's first reign. This was televised live on NBC's The Main Event I on February 5, 1988.

Hosted an Event In Your House 11: Buried Alive on October 20, 1996

Michael Jackson performed two consecutive sold–out shows at Market Square Arena, during his Bad World Tour on March 18–19, 1988.

KISS' show on November 28, 1992, was recorded and released as a live album, entitled Alive III.

Wayne Gretzky first skated out on the ice to start his pro hockey career here.[10]

Michael Jordan made his comeback from retirement at Market Square Arena on March 19, 1995. The Pacers defeated the Bulls in overtime in what was the most-watched NBA game on television in 20 years.[14]


  1. ^ 1634 to 1699: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy ofthe United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b [1] Archived December 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Program from the dedication of Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1974". September 12, 1974.
  4. ^ Sword, Doug (July 8, 2001). "Much Relief, Very Little Damage as Implosion Goes Like Clockwork". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007.
  5. ^ "Fitness Center Facilities". NIFS website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  6. ^ McQuaid, Russ (5 January 2017). "Cummins cuts ribbon on downtown Indy headquarters". Fox 59. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  7. ^ Lindquist, David (June 27, 2018). "You can now find Elvis Presley final-concert plaque amid shiny new spots on Market Street". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Basketball photograph" (JPG). Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  9. ^ "Pan Am Games Schedule". United Press International, Inc. July 29, 1987. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Litman, Laken Litman and Laken. "Wayne Gretzky returns to Indianapolis, where his career began". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  11. ^ "Market Square Arena – Indianapolis, Indiana – Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums – Powered by Phanfare". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  12. ^ Lindquist, David (26 June 2017). "Elvis Presley provoked cheers, jeers at final concert". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Monteith, Mark (March 23, 2015). "Jordan's Return Created Unprecedented Spectacle".

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