Saturday's inaugural Indy Eleven game sold out
The Indy Eleven - Indianapolis' new soccer team - kicks off their inaugural game Saturday night at Carroll Stadium.
"Trying not to be excited. We still have work to do but this has been an amazing journey!" said Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir to fans during a noon party at the Chatham Tap, a pub often tuned in to soccer.
On Saturday, Ozdemir's team will play its inaugural home opener at IUPUI's Carroll Stadium.
Friday afternoon workers were still busy setting up and getting concessions in place.
Ozdemir spent seven figures renovating the stadium to accommodate pro soccer - adding bleachers and a dozen suites - enough to seat 10,000 fans.
He's betting his team, which played IU in a scrimmage last week, will win a lot of fans. The first game sold out.
Butler University's Dan McQuiston not surprised
"If there was a sports hole to fill in Indianapolis, professional soccer was it. It's incredibly popular," said McQuiston.
The team won't be playing at IUPUI long-term. Plans calls call for a new $87 million stadium able to seat up to 18,000 fans.
"I want it to be downtown, within walking distance," said Ozdemir. He also wants the teams new home to be a multi-use venue that's owned by the City's Capital Improvement Board and paid for with user taxes.
"The CIB owns other venues so that would make sense. The revenue would come from events, ticket taxes and sales and income taxes," said McQuiston.
While Ozdemir failed to get the legislature to sign off, mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter says they're open to helping out.
"As a general principle, we support the addition of another sports and outdoor concert venue but we need to see the details and work through the General Assembly to get it done," said Lotter.
The good news for soccer fans unable to get tickets for Saturday's match is that seats for the team's April 19 matchup against the Tampa Bay Rowdies are still available. Single game tickets for Indy Eleven's remaining 13 NASL regular season games can be purchased for $10-$30 in general seating sections and $40-$100 in premium seating areas (plus fees). Fans can secure tickets online at IndyEleven.com or by calling the club's front office at 317-685-1100 weekdays from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET.