2024 Indiana Sports Corp State of Sports

Indiana Sports Corp is set to host its annual State of Sports on September 10 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. During the event, the organization will recognize Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson with the distinguished Pathfinder Award. State of Sports is an annual fundraising program for Indiana Sports Corp and highlights its mission of impacting the community through sports.

Pathfinder Award 

The Pathfinder Award, presented annually since 1988 by Indiana Sports Corp, aims to recognize individuals who, through sport, have made a commitment and impact to improving the lives of others and inspiring change and action in their communities. Within the past few decades, the Pathfinder Award has been granted to numerous standout recipients including Michael Phelps, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Jeff and Karen Saturday, John Wooden, Jeff Gordon, Larry Bird, Governor Mitch Daniels, Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Jim Nantz, Mel Simon, Herb Simon, Cindy Simon Skjodt, the Jim Irsay Family, and Dick Vitale, among others.

Past Pathfinder Award Recipients

Pathfinder - Rick Fuson

As a life-long resident of Indianapolis, Fuson has had an impactful career in the city. He joined the Pacers staff in 1984 as director of special events, helping to lead the execution of the 1985 NBA All-Star Game for the organization. Fuson was promoted to vice president, and he later oversaw the construction of Conseco Fieldhouse (now Gainbridge Fieldhouse) and the Pacers’ move to it in 1999. He was next promoted to Executive Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment in 2001, Chief Operating Officer in 2008, and President/COO in 2014. Finally, Fuson was named Chief Executive Officer in 2022.

While Fuson’s time at PS&E has helped shape the company for 40 years, much of his legacy will undoubtedly be his leadership during some of the most important large events the city has hosted. He was central to the creation and implementation of what would become known as Indianapolis’ sports strategy for economic development and was part of the leadership team for the 1987 Pan Am Games, producing the event’s closing ceremonies. Fuson helped plan and execute the 2002 FIBA World Championships and 2004 FINA World Swimming Championships at Conseco Fieldhouse, two big global events that showcased the city for an international audience. He served as Board Chair of Indiana Sports Corp from 2019-2022 and was instrumental in bringing the entire 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship to Indianapolis and Central Indiana.

Finally, Fuson has been an advocate for community engagement and racial equality, causes he has championed at PS&E and in his external roles. He has reinforced that component of PS&E’s community-focused mission with the result being greater intentionality across all community investment. During his career, Fuson has served as a longtime executive board member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the Indiana Repertory Theater, the Indianapolis Urban League, Visit Indy, and Downtown Indy Inc. He was recognized in 2023 by Indiana University College of Arts & Sciences as their Distinguished Alumnus and in 2021 he was commended by the national Sports Business Journal in their special section honoring Leaders in Diversity and Inclusive Hiring. Fuson has also received other important recognitions, including the Indianapolis Ambassadors 1988 Community Service Award; the “Indiana 250,” “Who’s Who in Hospitality”, “Who’s Who in Sports,” and “Forty Under Forty” from the Indianapolis Business Journal; and more.


For sponsorship information, please contact Mike Karnuta at mkarnuta@indianasportscorp.org or (317) 237-5004.

This event is an important fundraiser in support of Indiana Sports Corp’s community-building mission and efforts to create positive impact by hosting world-class sporting events.