Indy Eleven leadership, players and fans Thursday rallied at the Statehouse for support of a measure creating a public-private partnership to help fund a $150 million soccer stadium. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow the team to work with city leaders for two years on development plans for the venue, which would be funded by developer-backed bonds. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, team owner Ersal Ozdemir said the project can spark economic growth and help ultimately attract a Major League Soccer team.
The stadium would be part of the planned $550 million Eleven Park, which would also include office space, retail space, 600 apartment units and a 200-room boutique hotel. Ozdemir says several sites are under consideration, and all include abandoned buildings or empty lots that currently have no benefit or negative economic impact to Marion County.
Ozdemir says, in addition to Indy Eleven, the stadium field could be used by NCAA and high school soccer teams, as well as lacrosse, rugby and field hockey teams. He still believes Indianapolis can attract an MLS team, but says it would need a permanent home before that could happen. He says the team attracted the second-highest attendance in the United Soccer League last season, and he hopes to be number one this season.
The Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee heard testimony on a bill involving an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and improvements to Bankers Life Fieldhouse today. Ozdemir is hoping the Indy Eleven project can be added to the bill. The committee is scheduled to vote on the bill and potential amendments next week.