World Cup watch party attracts thousands of fans downtown

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Part of one of the busiest streets downtown was closed for thousands of people cheering on the Team USA.

Indy 11, the city’s professional soccer team, and the City of Indianapolis organized a block party along Massachusetts Avenue.

It started at College Avenue and stretched a few blocks down to Park Avenue. The event was supposed to start at 2:00pm, but fans were showing up hours beforehand while people were still setting up.

It started quietly this morning on Mass Avenue, like the calm before the storm but one that’s pouring with patriotism,

“I’m hoping for a huge turnout down here. I think it’s awesome,” said fan Joe Talhelm.

He got downtown to support his home country well before the three big screens were even ready to show the match. Each of the screens were 9x12ft.

Organizers said their goal was to attract 2,000-3,000 fans, but halfway through the match they felt they surpassed their goal. And with so many people suddenly along Mass Ave. on a Tuesday afternoon, we wondered how many actually had the day off.

“It’s a sick day,” one fan told us.

“I’m a teacher so I’m on summer break,” said Marcia Piercy of Indianapolis.

Ian Hale said he told his boss that his mom needed a ride home from the hospital, that way he could get out of working. “Honestly my mom did have surgery today and I told my boss I had to pick her up today at 1:00 p.m. but my step-dad picked her up today at 8:00 in the morning,” he said.

No matter how they got here on a Tuesday afternoon, organizers were just glad so many rolled on in showcasing plenty of USA pride.

The event was free. Seats were first come first serve.

Fans were allowed to bring a cooler filled with their own drinks and food, but restaurants and food trucks were plenty busy given how many people were in the area.

“We’ve seen this all around the nation at various other cities, various other states, and we wanted to replicate that here,” said Carlos May, Senior Executive policy Advisor to the Mayor, and also one of the event’s organizers.

“We’ve watched the other cities and we were really hoping Indy would do something like this so we are excited to come be a part of it,” said Piercy.

Although Team USA lost, May said two bigger locations were being scouted downtown for another watch party in case they had won.

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