Celebrate women’s history
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The sports arena is often viewed as a male domain, but as the vice president for running facilities for Pacers Sports & EntertainmentMel Raines proves that it’s a women’s world as well.
In the past few years she has played a major role in some of the biggest sporting events in Indy. Raines has a long political background. From the Super Bowl to March Madness and helping Indianapolis win the bid for the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, Indiana can keep up, she says.
“I mean, we’re known as a great promoter and I think (what) we’re going to start in March is just another example of that,” said Raines. “No other city has hosted every game in the NCAA tournament, and we’re excited to be a big part of it here. We’ll probably have 16 games between the first and second round and the sweet 16. “
Raines is behind much of the work to make sure the city seizes opportunities. After a dozen years in politics, she was part of several political teams: former US Senator Dan Coats, former US Representative Susan Brooks, and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“You know, politics was a great backdrop for that. There are a lot of parallels I would say. They know we work for an NBA team, but we work for the Simon family, ”said Raines.
In 1983, Simon and his brother Mel, who died in 2009, bought the Pacers. Herb continues to own the Pacers and is retired chairman of Indianapolis-based mall developer Simon Property Group.
“Working for an office, but you really work for a person or a family, and it was very much like working in politics. In politics things change every day and here things change every day. Even when we’re working in a non-COVID environment, we’re always making last-minute changes, ”said Raines.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse is in the middle of a $ 360 million renovation. Interior decoration is done on seating, concessions, and more. Ultimately, a pavilion extension and exterior improvements will be made. Raines is also one of the many who make sure that everything is taken care of.
“This town is made up of an army of volunteers, both young and some more experienced, who really get the whole engine going.”
Raines said it was a tough job and she was here to do it.
“You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but when you work the hardest you can do it really well.”
Raines said that with March Madness this month, Pacers Sports & Entertainment is constantly looking for improvement. In the meantime, it is preparing to host another number of major sporting events in the years to come. If the coronavirus pandemic allows, there are plans to make the All-Star Game in 2024 in a way the NBA has never had.