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What’s next for bringing an MLS team to Indianapolis

Vote creates second stadium site for MLS team in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A government commission on Wednesday created a tax district to help fund a second soccer stadium site in Indianapolis.

The Metropolitan Development Commission in a 7-1 vote created a second Professional Sports Development Area. Daniel Moriarty was the only member to vote “no.”

The commission’s vote for the newest stadium site is just the first step. The City-County Council and the state government must also approve the tax district.

Indianapolis already has a soccer stadium under construction for the United Soccer League’s Indy Eleven teams. Mayor Joe Hogsett last week announced his goal for a Major League Soccer team and the second site, which was approved Wednesday.

As set under state law, Professional Sports Development Areas capture state and local taxes from an area surrounding a stadium site to help pay down the cost of it.

Last year, officials finalized a Professional Sports Development Area (PSDA) for the Indy Eleven stadium site called Eleven Park. It will include a 20,000-seat, multipurpose stadium with apartments, a hotel, and retail space.

Hogsett on Thursday said he’d met with MLS commissioner Don Garber on April 22. In the mayor’s announcement, he said the city had already identified a site for the new stadium at 335 E. Pearl St. That site is near the Indianapolis Heliport, and the Virginia Avenue Parking Garage connected to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Democratic mayor has told News 8 that, in the end, the city will only have one professional soccer stadium.

Ersal Ozdemir, owner of Eleven Park development firm Keystone Group and the owner of the Indy Eleven, has told News 8 that he has not been involved in discussions to change course on the future of soccer in Indy.

The USL Championship series, which is the league’s highest level of competition and is home to the Eleven, is considered to be one tier below MLS, the top-level men’s professional soccer league in the United States.

David Ziemba, the president of the Brickyard Battalion, has told News 8 that he doubts an MLS team could coexist alongside a USL team. The independent fan group for the Indy Eleven helped get the team to Indianapolis more than a decade ago.

“We’re frustrated because we just don’t know what’s going on,” Ziemba said. “We’ve got information from the club and from Keystone Construction. We have information from other sources but what we don’t have is the piece of the puzzle is information from the city about why this is happening.”

MLS’s two most recent expansions, in San Diego and St. Louis, led to the demise of the USL-affiliated San Diego Loyal FC and St. Louis FC.

At Wednesday’s commission meeting at the City-County Building, people in support of Eleven Park filled the Public Assembly Room’s seats. Brickyard Battalion members wore black T-shirts that said “Build Eleven Park.” They say they feel betrayed that their team may be cut out of the conversation to have a professional soccer stadium or be an MLS expansion in Indianapolis.

“It’s a betrayal in my opinion. Ersal started this before 2013,” said Molly Kruger Sanford, a former employee. “Suddenly, he’s going in a different direction. Didn’t consult Ersal.”

City-County Councilor Kristen Jones, a Democrat who represents parts of south and west Indianapolis including the Eleven Park development, called on the city government to complete the Indy Eleven stadium and support the neighbors in the area who have been counting on the development.

Jones said that Eleven Park supporters “want the original PSDA and allocation area” and want the city government to “honor the commitment that’s already been passed.

“They want Eleven Park to be built as planned regardless of which jerseys are worn on that field,” the city councilor said.


“We are excited to have taken the next step toward realizing Mayor Hogsett’s vision for a Major League Soccer expansion club in Indianapolis. This is just an early step in an extensive process, and we look forward to walking alongside our city’s vibrant and diverse soccer community in developing an application that we hope will secure Indianapolis as the next Major League Soccer city.”

Aliya Wishner, communications and policy director, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office