Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says a downtown professional soccer stadium could help draw young families to the city. Ballard took part in a Statehouse rally today in support of a bill to help fund a proposed $82 million stadium.
March 19, 2015
Indianapolis, Ind. — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Indiana State Representative Todd Huston (Fishers – District 37) were joined by representatives from Indiana Soccer Association, Indy Eleven Professional Soccer and the Brickyard Battalion independent supporters group to announce their support for House Bill 1273, which will enable construction of a new 18,500-seat multipurpose stadium proposed for downtown Indianapolis.
“Soccer is part of the experience that young families are looking for, and to have a professional team and a professional stadium is absolutely critical,” said Mayor Ballard.
The stadium would serve as a permanent home for all Indy Eleven games and more than 30 other sports and entertainment events to be held every year starting with the venue’s anticipated opening in 2017.
Representative Huston filed HB 1273 to extend a sports and entertainment development area to include the future stadium site and a new downtown Indianapolis hotel to be developed by the owner of Indy Eleven. The bill received strong bipartisan support from the Indiana House of Representatives, which voted in favor by 74-21. HB 1273 is currently assigned to the Indiana Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. Senators Jim Merritt (Indianapolis – District 31) and Pete Miller (Avon – District 24) are the Senate sponsors.
Among those attending today’s rally were players and coaches from several youth soccer clubs. The Indiana Soccer Association governs youth and adult soccer around the state and counts more than 65,000 players, coaches, referees and volunteers from all 92 Indiana counties amongst its ranks.
“The Indiana Soccer membership is committed to supporting the entry level player as well as those who achieve the highest level of play, and is proud of the young men and women who apply the lessons learned from playing soccer to become better individuals, students and citizens,” said Dave Guthrie, executive director of the association. “We are eager to have a world-class venue for the sport here in Indiana, where these talented Hoosiers can one day demonstrate their accomplishments in front of their Indiana family.”
Indy Eleven sold out all 14 of its home games in 2014 with an NASL-leading average attendance of 10,465 fans. That was no surprise to Josh Mason, co-founder of the Brickyard Battalion, a grassroots organization with 4,000 members that helps foster passionate support for Indy Eleven and the soccer community.
“As someone who helped build the initial support for professional soccer in Indiana from the grassroots, it has been hard work over many years,” said Mason. “Seeing the passion for the game of soccer today and the momentum the Indy Eleven has created for the soccer community first hand, you would understand how this momentum will sustain itself for years to come, and that’s the reward for our efforts.”
A venue built to showcase the world’s most popular sport has been part of Indy Eleven’s strategy for growth and long-term stability since the club’s official welcome to the North American Soccer League in January 2013.
“Indy Eleven appreciates the support of soccer fans from around Indiana who have been cheering for our team on and off the field. They understand the need for building a permanent home for professional soccer in Indiana, and the many benefits such a stadium would give Hoosiers,” said Ersal Ozdemir, owner of Indy Eleven. “We look forward to working with the Senate to make the bill more effective so that we can bring this world-class facility to the people of Indiana.”
The projected $82 million cost to construct the facility is considerably less than similarly sized venues geared towards soccer that have been built throughout North America in the last ten years. The proposed funding mechanism under consideration in the General Assembly will not result in any increase in city or state taxes, nor will it divert taxpayer dollars earmarked for services or programs funded by the City or State.
Sales and income tax revenues generated at the stadium site would go towards payment of the venue’s construction costs, as would a payment of 10 percent of ticket revenues from events by Indy Eleven. While an independent feasibility study concluded these revenue streams would pay for the venue's construction debt, it has been proposed that a portion of the new taxes generated by the new hotel site could be used only if necessary to provide greater security for the stadium's financial mechanism.
The proposed stadium and hotel development is expected to generate significant economic activity, which may attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to remain or expand in central Indiana; protect and increase state and local tax revenues; and encourage overall economic growth.
Supporters of the stadium proposal are encouraged to visit www.stadiumforindiana.com to learn more about the plan and find suggestions for how to get involved.
Source: Indy Eleven Professional Soccer