The president of Indy Eleven says he’s confident the team can nab one of the four expansion slots being planned by Major League Soccer. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Jeff Belskus says the city’s reputation as a big sports market and the absence of a professional baseball team both work in the team’s favor. Team owner Ersal Ozdemir is delivering the application to league headquarters in New York today.
Belskus says turning the Indy Eleven into an MLS team is at least a $100 million proposition, including a new stadium. He says, while Indianapolis is a smaller market than others in the MLS, it has proven it can support professional sports teams. Belskus says the team has an average attendance of just under 10,000 per game over its first three seasons.
There are 12 teams vying for four expansion spots. The first two chosen would begin play in 2020, with the next two beginning in 2021. MLS has said it would like to make a decision on the expansion markets by late 2017.
Belskus says the team already has a good foundation in Indianapolis, including a strong fan base, sponsor support and committed owners. He says the team is discussing expanding its ownership group to bring in additional local partners.
You can see more information on the markets bidding for a team on the MLS website.