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Indianapolis proposal could bring Rugby World Cup games to city

City leaders consider investment for Rugby World Cups

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis government leaders are considering a proposal to invest millions of dollars in a soccer stadium to bring Rugby World Cups games to the city.

Sara Hindi, chief communications officer for the City-County Council, told News 8’s Adam Pinsker that improvements totaling $12 million could be made to Kuntz Soccer & Sports Complex, just east of the White River along 16th Street.

A proposal before the City-County Council says Indianapolis-based Riverside Sports Properties, a limited liability company, would provide “significant capital investment into the renovation and rehabilitation of the property and assist in increasing utilization.”

Hindi says Indy Parks would lease out its property for 20 years to Riverside Sports Properties, which has outlined the project on its website.

“IndyParks is leasing it for capacity to do improvements and for better utilization of the space,” Hindi said by email. “This was approved by the Parks Board, and is now headed to Council for final approval.”

The Parks and Recreation Committee of the City-County Council will consider the proposal at 5:30 p.m. Thursday during its meeting at Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Park Rangers’ Station at 1147 Madison Ave. That’s southeast of the I-70 overpass for Madison Avenue.

More than four dozen letters in support of the project have come from Mayor Joe Hogsett, both of Indiana’s U.S. senators, businessman and “Shark Tank” member Marc Cuban, and rugby clubs from across the Midwest.

Cuban’s letter says, “I am committed to helping this project come to life, to encouraging the national governing body, USA Rugby, to relocate to Indianapolis and to helping Indianapolis participate as a host city in the 2031 and 2033 Rugby World Cups.”

In May 2022, Rugby World Cup chose the United States to host its 2031 event for men’s teams and its 2033 event for women’s teams. Indianapolis was not initially on the potential list of contenders for those games.

Other supporters include a long list of business leaders, including ones from National Bank of Indianapolis, pharmaceutical makers Elanco and Lilly, the Colts, the Pacers, Penske Entertainment, Sullivan Hardware, Tom Wood Automotive Group, and Sport Graphics.

Carl David Toth with Indianapolis-based The Architecture Studio, wrote in his letter that he’s watched rugby’s growth from a few collegiate and city adult men’s clubs in the 1970s.

“Rugby Indiana celebrated our 30th year of servicing youth and high school rugby clubs in this state. The interest continues to grow. With the rehabilitating of Kuntz Soccer Complex (old CYO Field), it will add visibility and help the growth of the sport on all levels for youth, high school, collegiate, and adult clubs,” Toth wrote.

The rugby proposal comes days after the mayor announced a desire to build a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown Indianapolis. That proposal will next be considered by the city council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee at 5:30 p.m. May 28.