The Score

Welcome to The Score, your place for hard-hitting sports business news, fast-breaking updates and fuel-injected debate.  Buckle up.  I'm your host, Anthony Schoettle, IBJ sports reporter.

Sports Business

Indy's new soccer team blowing sales expectations 'out of the water'

March 7, 2013
Comments Print Reprints
Share More
/ Text Size+

The startup minor league soccer team launched by developer Ersal Ozdemir is on the verge of nailing down deposits for 2,500 season tickets.

More than 2,000 deposits have been made and a deal with a youth soccer league for another 500 should close within 10 days, team officials say.

That would hit the season ticket goal of the unnamed North American Soccer League franchise almost 14 months before the team takes the field.

And it looks like Indianapolis will be among the league's leaders in attendance. In 2012, average NASL attendance was 3,810. Only two teams, San Antonio and Atlanta, averaged more than 4,500 fans per game.

“We’re blowing our expectations out of the water,” said Peter Wilt, the franchise president. “We haven’t even started our first phase of aggressive outreach.”

The team initially hoped to sell 2,500 season tickets, 1,500 group tickets and 1,000 individual tickets for each of 15 home games. The team’s first season starts in April 2014 at the IUPUI track and soccer stadium.

Sales have been so brisk that Wilt thinks the franchise may have to limit the number of season tickets sold. Buyers are required to put down $25. Seat selection begins this summer, when another $75 deposit will be required. Season tickets range from $135 to $390.

“We want to make sure we have some tickets available for group sales and we’d also like to have some [individual ticket] availability,” Wilt said. “We should be able to sell 6,000 to 7,000 season tickets, and the way it’s going now, we could get that.”

Depending on the seating configuration, the venue could hold as many as 12,000 for soccer, Wilt said.

Wilt, who formerly worked as general manager of the Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, said the outpouring is due to pent-up demand.

Wilt credits the Brickyard Battalion, a local soccer fan club, for firing up ticket sales.

“They’re not only advocates for soccer in general and this team in particular, they’re evangelists,” Wilt said.

In early April, Wilt and Ozdemir expect to announce the name of the team and unveil the uniform design. They’re now gathering input from fans.

At the same time, Wilt said he’ll start hiring sales and marketing people and other front office employees for the team, which will initially be headquartered in a building at Maryland and Pennsylvania streets owned by Ozdemir.

“Once we get staff added, we’ll hit full outreach mode,” Wilt said. “And then you’ll see things really take off.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Comments powered by Disqus