The Indy Eleven this weekend hit 7,000 season ticket deposits and is the first North American Soccer League franchise with a season ticket waiting list. And it’s still five months before the professional soccer team plays its first game.
Indy Eleven will initially play at the 12,500-seat Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium, but team officials capped season tickets at 7,000 so they would have some tickets for group and corporate sales.
By 2017, team owner Ersal Ozdemir hopes to have a new 8,000- to 12,000-seat downtown venue built for his team. He may already have a site picked out.
For the team’s inaugural season, ticket demand has far exceeded original projections by team officials.
“We launched back in January with modest ticketing goals, and adjusting our plans to keep up with our fans’ response has been the best possible challenge for our staff,” explained Peter Wilt, Indy Eleven president and general manager. “To continue meeting that demand we are rolling out the first season ticket waiting list for an NASL team, allowing more opportunities for fans that hope to enjoy every game next year to do so in the five months leading up to kickoff.”
“The commitment shown by Indy Eleven fans to help our club grow has been inspiring for everyone associated with the team,” Ozdemir added. “This early response sends the strongest signal yet that professional soccer will thrive here in Indiana.”
Indy Eleven officials expect a number of additional season ticket spots to open up ahead of opening day next April. Fans will be able to secure “a priority spot” on the season ticket waiting list with the $25-per-seat deposit, Wilt said.
To commemorate this latest milestone in the club’s growth, Indy Eleven will host a Celebrate 7,000 party tonight at the Indiana Historical Society from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the RSVP-only Veterans Day celebration, which will be open only to season ticket holders, Indy Eleven will make several announcements.
During the event’s formal presentation, set to begin at 6:45 p.m., Indy Eleven officials will introduce new players with local ties to the team’s official roster, welcome the first assistant coach in team history and announce community and corporate partnerships with organizations with military ties to commemorate Veterans Day.
During the festivities tonight, Indy Eleven officials will announce that they've reached a deal to make the Indiana National Guard the team's second official sponsor. Honda was announced as the team's first official corporate partner last month.
Highlights of the agreement include Indy Eleven’s participation in the Indiana Army National Guard’s “Books and Boots” program to promote reading and literacy in local schools; the creation of a “Tickets for Troops” ticket donation program that will allow Indiana National Guard families opportunities to attend Indy Eleven matches and game-day sponsorship activation centering around participation in pre-game ceremonies and the team’s planned pre-game celebration area.
Indy Eleven officials also revealed that a partnership has been struck with the not-for-profit organization, Operation: Job Ready Vets. Indy Eleven will work with the organization to find qualfied workers to meet various staffing needs for the soccer team, including handling game-day operations. Eleven officials also are committed to help the organization connect military vets with jobs that the team's sponsors have available.
Despite strong early ticket sales, Ozdemir said team leaders have no thoughts of easing up their sales and marketing efforts. Team officials, he said, have already started planning for the placement of luxury suites and club-type seats and amenities at the IUPUI facility to accommodate corporate and other group ticket buyers.