Indy Eleven, the city’s North American Soccer League franchise, on Tuesday announced its first major sponsorship deal.
The Eleven, a professional team that will debut in 2014, signed a three-year deal with Honda Manufacturing of Indiana LLC and central Indiana Honda dealers. The pact is worth about $1 million over the three-year term, said sources familiar with the deal.
The sponsorship agreement makes Honda the "Official Automobile of Indy Eleven" and includes the placement of the Honda logo on all uniforms to be worn by the team for the next three years.
The franchise is scheduled to unveil the team’s jersey Tuesday at a 6:30 p.m. presentation at The Rathskeller downtown. In addition, the team is expected to sign its first player at the gathering for fans and supporters.
“Indy Eleven’s partnership with Honda sets the tone for what this club plans to achieve in forming meaningful and lasting partnerships within the business community,” Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir said in a prepared statement. “While [Honda's] national and international recognition can assist in getting Indy Eleven wider exposure, it is the possibilities provided by Honda’s Indiana connections that excite us most.”
Central Indiana Honda dealers will be the first place local soccer fans can buy Indy Eleven jerseys when they go on sale in the coming months, team officials said. Honda dealers also are likely to be the site of future team promotions, sales and giveaways. The local Honda organization and dealers also are expected to promote the team through advertisements and special events over the next three years.
“This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for the entire Honda family,” said Bob Nelson, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana president.
Honda employs more than 2,000 at its Greensburg plant, which opened in 2008 and makes Civic and Acura models.
Indy Eleven continues to boost its already-NASL-best season ticket base, with team officials confirming the club has reached the 6,000 season-ticket-deposit plateau a full six months before it plays its first official NASL match.
Tuesday’s announcement with Honda, Ozdemir said, will help continue the momentum.
Ozdemir officially announced his plans in January and then unveiled the team’s name and logo at a large gathering on Monument Circle in April.
The Indy Eleven started as a grass roots movement fueled by a group known as The Brickyard Battalion. That effort gave rise to the local organization, Indy Pro Soccer, which morphed into the Eleven franchise.
The team plans to play its first two to three seasons at the IUPUI track and soccer stadium, but eventually Ozdemir, president of local development firm Keystone Group, hopes to build a soccer venue downtown as part of a mixed-use development.
After finalizing a deal with its ticketing company on Monday, Indy Eleven is set to announce details for seating and pricing in the coming days, team officials told IBJ Tuesday. The tentative plan, team officials explained, is to host open house nights at IUPUI's stadium in the coming week, likely Saturday and next Tuesday, and open up the online seat-selection process Oct. 13 or 14.
Team officials also said they are working on other sponsorship deals and expect to have more announcements by year's end.