Indy Eleven on cloud nine over venue plans

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US Eleven Park-Indy Eleven new stadium Image: Indy Eleven

The United Soccer League (USL) team Indy Eleven (US) was mulling on moving to a new home ground for a long time. Recently, they gave a long-awaited update to fans regarding the same.

The team announced “after delays caused by the pandemic we are pushing ahead with plans for Eleven Park” and stated that the location of its new facility would be revealed by the end of March.

Indy Eleven is an American professional soccer team based in Indianapolis, Indiana (US). Founded in 2013, the team made its debut in the North American Soccer League in 2014, before moving to the United Soccer League in 2018. The team’s home facility is Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana.

Eleven Park is a proposed soccer-specific stadium to be constructed at a currently unknown site in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.

The USL Championship is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States that began its inaugural season in 2011. The USL is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as a Division II Professional League since 2017, placing it under Major League Soccer (MLS) in the hierarchy.

Major League Soccer is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada. The league comprises 27 teams – 24 in the US and 3 in Canada – and will expand to 30 teams by the 2023 season.

“We look forward to bringing more information as details become available. As per our statement, we are excited and ask that our fans stay tuned,” Indy Eleven told mediapersons.

It is unclear how the coronavirus pandemic – which still has the United States caught in its maelstrom – will or has affected the plan put forward in 2019. The Eleven did not divulge much detail.

In 2019, Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir, the head honcho of Indianapolis developer Keystone Group, proposed a $550 million project called ‘Eleven Park’. The plan called for a mixed-use development anchored by a 20,000-seat soccer stadium. Eleven Park would include $400 million in private investment in eateries, shops, offices and apartments at a to-be-decided location, as well as the $150 million stadium and other public investments.

Ozdemir has been pitching various versions of a soccer stadium proposal since 2015.

State lawmakers in 2019 debated offering public support for a soccer stadium based on the stipulation that Indy Eleven owners secure a Major League Soccer (MLS) team by 2022. But, at the last minute, the General Assembly stripped that MLS requirement from a Bill and passed the same.

Under the legislation, taxes collected from that development would pay back 80 percent of the cost of the stadium. The Indy Eleven would have to pay the other 20 percent, either upfront or annually, and cover any shortfalls.

“We remain excited about the future of soccer in Indianapolis and look forward to continued conversations with the Indy Eleven about a permanent home for the team,” said Mark Bode, spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

“For any additional details about upcoming plans or announcements, we’d refer to the Indy Eleven,” Hogsett added.

Indy Eleven just completed its third season in the (USL) and Indianapolis has not been mentioned as a potential MLS City in the latest rounds of expansion.

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