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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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New Indiana Pacers Investor Could Offer Succession Option

  • The Indiana Pacers are selling a 20% minority stake in the franchise to a new investor.
  • Pacers owner Herb Simon is 89 years old and is son Steve is the team's alternate governor.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have a new investor who will acquire a significant minority stake — and possibly put the franchise on a new ownership trajectory.

Billionaire businessman and film producer Steven Rales is buying 20% of the Pacers, upon NBA approval. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Forbes most recently valued the Pacers at $2.9 billion, which is 27th out of 30 teams on its 2023 list.

An official announcement from the team made no mention of any previous formal involvement with Rales, but Sportico reported that he already had a 5% stake in the team, which they value at $3.47 billion.

Taking all the information into account, Rales’s 20% holds an estimated value between $580 million and nearly $700 million. Rales’s brother Mitch owns 12% of the Washington Commanders.

The Pacers’ stake sale arrives as the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are both reported to be exploring sales of minority stakes.

More Options For Succession?

In 2017, Pacers owner Herb Simon said his oldest son, Steve, 57, was next in line for ownership of the team: “If anything happens to me, he’d be taking over.” The 89-year-old remains the Pacers’ governor, with Steve Simon as alternate.

Keeping the Pacers in Indianapolis long-term has always been a priority for Simon, who listed Rales’s collegiate and business ties to Indiana in the sale announcement. If the Simon family wanted to sell the Pacers altogether, Rales could be a contender to buy majority control.

In 2019, the Pacers signed a 25-year lease extension to continue playing at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Editor’s note: Front Office Sports senior reporter A.J. Perez contributed to this story.

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