INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Beyond all expectations. That’s the word from the Indy Eleven Soccer team.
Season ticket sales have been so good, the team says they had to stopped selling them. They say there’s a waiting list and even talk about a new stadium.
“I’m absolutely astounded at the number, says Peter Wilt, president of IndyEleven. “When we went into this, our owner Ersel Ostimir and I were expecting 2,500 season tickets and an average attendance for the games of 5,000.”
But Wilt, says in the 11 months since the announcement of an Indianapolis team in the North American Soccer league, 7,000 season tickets have been sold and that’s the limit.
“We could have sold 10,000 season tickets. We still have five more months until the season starts. But it’s important that everyone has a chance to experience Indy Eleven soccer. And that means group tickets and single game tickets,” he said.
Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI campus will be home for Indy Eleven. It is an old track and field stadium with a fan capacity of just over 11,000.
“We’re going to put some investment into it to make it as good as possible. But it is a 25-year-old facility and the fans deserve a little bit better in the long run,” Wilt says.
A Better stadium could be built at the site of the old GM Stamping plant, just across the White River from downtown Indianapolis. The old plant buildings would be torn down by the trust that owns it.
Four companies have submitted development proposals for the site but signed confidentiality agreements, say they won’t disclose their plans for the property. One of those companies, Keystone Construction, is run by the owner of Indy Eleven.
“All I know, long term we’d like to have our own stadium. And I think downtown makes the most sense,” Wilt says.
He added “You know 20,000 is a standard number for major soccer stadiums throughout the country and right now, that’s the number we’re looking at.”
Wilt didn’t know a price tag for a new soccer venue, but a soccer stadium in Columbus, Ohio with 20,000 capacity cost $28.5 million in 1999. For now, the number that counts Wilt says is the 7,000 season tickets sold.
The team starts spring training in February and the season starts in April.
Wilt expects all home games to be sellouts. Wilt says two more team members were being added to the roster. One, a graduate of Zionsville Community High School and DePauw University. The other raised in Indianapolis and a Harvard grad.