World class football (soccer) comes to Lucas Oil Stadium
World class football debuts at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday, but we're not talking Colts or NFL. Two of Europe's biggest names in soccer, or football, as it's known outside the USA, will face off tonight in a match that will be broadcast to millions.
Millions of fans across the world will watch Thursday's game live on television, broadcast from Indianapolis.
At a local pub, soccer fans have been eagerly awaiting to watch two of Europe's biggest names, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
The doors at the Chatham Tap couldn't open early enough for these soccer fans.
"Today is a very big day! We have been looking forward to this every since they announced this last spring," said Daniel Jones, Chatham Tap.
Daniel Jones owns the Mass Ave. English-themed pub. Supporting England's premier soccer teams, Chelsea's jersey and scarf are proudly displayed inside the London-inspired bar. It's safe to say this pub has a favorite team ahead of tonight's match. There's even a special beer on tap.
"Chelsea fans, we put on special today for them. The Fuller London Pride. It's made in London. Fuller is old English brewery. One of their team slogans is they call themselves the pride of London," said Jones.
Football fans are not afraid to show their bias. Chelsea FC takes on Inter Milan as part of the Guinness International Championships Cup.
When the Colts play at Lucas Oil Stadium, they sell out with more than 60,000 fans. No one is expecting that kind of turnout tonight. But the point here is exposure and excitement - getting Americans and Hoosiers excited about world class soccer.
The game will be hosted by Indy's new professional soccer team Indy Eleven. Indy's soccer team doesn't debut until 2014.
The city already supports American football, basketball and, of course, motor sports. So why not soccer?
Peter Wilt, Indy Eleven president, said the city is a natural to host a cup match.
"These games that are coming to the United States as part of the International Champions Cup are going to the biggest cities," Wilt explained. "They're going to New York and L.A. The finals are going to Miami and then Indianapolis was able to get it because of its history of supporting big events - the Super Bowl and the Final Four."
The astroturf was covered with sod at Lucas Oil Stadium and 45,000 fans are expected to pack the seats for what will likely be a very rowdy game.
Indianapolis has its own Chelsea soccer club that is helping to organize some of tonight's activities. They will be gathering here at the Chatham Tap before going down to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the game tonight at 8:00 pm.
As of 3:30 pm, tickets were still available for the game. Prices range from $30 to $135. You can buy tickets at the ticket counter at Lucas Oil Stadium. For $49, you can Tailgate on Georgia Street beginning at 3:00 p.m. before the 8:00 p.m. match.