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Soccer team seeks state help for $87M downtown stadium

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The Indy Eleven professional soccer team wants state assistance to help it build an 18,500-seat, multi-purpose stadium in downtown Indianapolis with a projected construction cost of $87 million.

Lobbyists are trying to find a lawmaker willing to shepherd a bill that would allow the team to capture ticket-tax revenue, plus sales taxes and state and local income taxes, to help it finance the project.

The team is asking fans to contact their legislators and express their support for the idea, and the topic already has sparked a lively debate on Twitter.

WNDE-AM radio host Jake Query said he bought season tickets for the inaugural season, which starts in April at IUPUI’s Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium. “But starting ‘public funding for new stadium’ chat before playing a game is the wrong approach.”

The team’s response on Twitter: “No handouts wanted! Project would be paid for by club and other users of the building through revenue generated by its use.”

Indy Eleven owner and real estate developer Ersal Ozdemir said Friday morning that he thinks the team could generate $8.8 million a year in tax revenue, but said he would ask for just $5 million a year to finance the facility.

Ozdemir considers the admission tax to be the team’s contribution toward the cost of the project because those fees drive up the price of tickets.

“We’re just asking for the money we’re going to create,” Ozdemir said.

Ozdemir said he has no qualms about pursuing a stadium before the team even has established an attendance track record. “We exceeded all the expectations, including my personal expectations, frankly,” he said, referring to early ticket commitments.

Launched just one year ago, the team has received deposits for 7,000 season tickets, and Ozdemir thinks it will sell out every home game. He said he’s trying to squeeze as much seating into Carroll Stadium as possible to hold close to 11,000 fans.

Ozdemir said he studied the possibility of using Lucas Oil Stadium early on but found there are too many scheduling conflicts.

Faegre Baker Daniels partner Murray Clark, a former state Republican party chairman, is heading up the Indy Eleven lobbying effort. He said most of the debt service on the stadium could be covered by the admissions tax, but the financing plan also would require the sales and income-tax revenue that’s captured in the downtown Professional Sports Development Area.

The Legislature would have to change the definition of the PSDA so that it could include the future stadium site, Clark said. Ozdemir’s development company is pursuing the former GM stamping plant site west of the White River, but that is just one of several possibilities, all of which are in or near downtown.

The stadium proposal would have to be amended to an existing bill, and because of the fiscal impact, it most likely would be routed through the House Ways and Means Committee. Clark said he hasn’t yet identified a bill or sponsor.

It’s not clear whether Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown would give the bill a hearing. Brown, a Republican from Crawfordsville, could not be reached for comment.

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  • what do you know
    I just read the comments. It's been 4 months since this posting and every indy eleven game has had over 10k attendees each game. What do you know.
  • No
    87 million is modest? LOS is used for other events and the NFL actually draws fans. A minor league soccer team with a silly name is in no way comparable to the NFL or huge events held in the Luke. No team in the NASL draws 10,000 fans dude. But a team that hasn't played a game wants 87 million lol? For an 18,000 seat stadium? Yeah right. This team will fold in a few years.
  • Modesty
    Jason, Lucas Oil cost, what, $700 million? And seats, what, 65,000? It seems to me that $87 million for a stadium that seats 18,500 is a bargain. And yes, when we're talking about stadium finance, $87 million is modest.
    • "Modest" amount?
      87 million is "modest"? Especially for a team/sport most people simply do not care about? If it's such a "modest" amount pony up Warbucks.
    • Yeah right
      All I know is I don't know anybody who cares about soccer and a minor league team with a horrible name like "The 11" isn't going to change that. People point to MLS attendance, tickets are dirt cheap, the MLS draws WNBA level TV ratings. Dog shows on ESPN2 literally get the same ratings as MLS games. And this team wants 87 million lol? Whoooo boy. That'll turn out well for tax payers.
    • PLAY YOUR MATCHES AND KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OUR TAXES
      Brilliant - Hopefully IBJ will keep the most commented on article on its homepage.
    • TAX
      There is a lot of support for major league soccer and the Indy Eleven franchise. Many of the same people that are saying NO to a new stadium are incredibly supportive of the team and work hard to make Indy a world-class place to live and visit. The question at hand is simple: Do we want to spend the tax dollars that Indy Eleven is going to generate one way or another on a new stadium? The team will generate the tax revenue at whichever venue they play at. Many believe that Indy Eleven should be a good corporate citizens and generate some revenue for the good of the City *first* and wait to ask for a handout until *later*. Many believe that there are better uses for that tax revenue (schools, jobs, neighborhoods) which may better contribute to Indy continuing to grow into a great city right now. It's about prioritizing how tax dollars are spent. Welcome Indy Eleven! Glad you're here and looking forward to a great season, and many more. Now play your matches and keep your hands off our taxes.
    • Color me shocked...
      Good to see the naysayers are out en force. "Say, shall we spend a modest amount of money to improve the city, redevelop downtown, and attract new residents?" "No! I want the monetary equivalent of an extra hamburger a year!" Le sigh.
      • MLS= Major League Stealing...
        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-09/red-bulls-stadium-bonds-sap-new-jersey-town-as-condominium-visions-vanish.html New York Red Bulls stadium hurting stadium town as bonds sap other resources.
      • This must be stopped!
        Indianapolis residents, we must all work together to stop this madness. Democrats and Republicans. Black and white. Young and old. The nerve of this man to ask for millions on an untested products is galling. It seems as though he feels entitled to OUR money. I will fight tooth and nail to ensure this man does not get a dime of our money for his toy.
      • For Peter Wilt
        Question for Peter Wilt. How many season ticket holders are members of Indiana Youth Soccer?
      • Indy must subsidize this project
        If Indianapolis politicians do not give this group what they want, Indy Eleven will be out of business in 2-3 years. Help save pro soccer, contact your reps about supporting this effort.
      • Sure
        Sure Peter Wilt, build it and they will come. And it won't cost taxpayers any money unlike the Colts and Pacers who continually rake the public for money. The numbers simply do not work. Even in the unlikely event every game was sold out, the numbers still don't support a subsidy.
      • Soccer mom
        My kids love soccer, I have learned to enjoy it, and would love to see a pro soccer succeed in Indy. But asking for public money before you demonstrated sustainability is a great PR fiasco. I'm surprised and disappointed that Ozdeimr and his group would be so naive and amateur to commit this error. This is laughable.
      • Thanks Mona @ 12:03!
        Yes, that is what will happen here. The Taxpayers have 100% of the risk. The team owner, related grafter types will be the ones with the upside, including the politicians! This is what and how a Banana Republic operates. We have a city Mayor that bumbles on his words and cannot clear snow from streets, salt them, fill chuck holes ( ALLL BASIC BLOCKING AND TACKLING) and not to mention CONTINUOUS infrastructure improvements to sidewalks and streets in the suburbs. Univgov under a Mayor like this doesn't work! Friggin Amateurs !
      • Re: Ryan Miller
        Did someone just say the Montreal was half as comparable to Indy?!?! Lolz. You really, really, really need to get out more. Indy is nice and all but in no way, shape or form compares at all to Montreal. It's this absurd mindset inflating Indy's population that gets us things that we can't afford.
      • Mr. Wilt's previous project
        "The taxpayer-owned home of the Chicago Fire has come up millions of dollars short of making its debt payments since opening in 2006. Meanwhile, the town has nearly tripled property taxes in less than a decade, even as the town offset some of the financial sting by taking out more loans to help make payments." "In comparing towns' debt to property values, the Tribune found Bridgeview had the highest debt rate in the Chicago area. Much of the debt is tied to a stadium deal in which the newspaper found insiders landed contracts and town officials enriched their political funds with stadium vendor donations." "Bridgeview officials stung by a costly soccer stadium got an earful from angry residents Wednesday who complained of a lack of answers on how much the struggling venture will cost them." http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-20/news/ct-met-bridgeview-meeting-0621-20120621_1_bridgeview-stadium-deal-debt-payments
      • Soccer Popular With Young People?
        Jerry, actually the numbers do back up that spectatorship for professional soccer has risen substantially in the US and is a trend that is expected to continue as Jason pointed out with the ESPN Luker Poll results. The difference from previous generations includes accessibility to the sport via 24 hour soccer channels, internet and video games. The growth is manifested in millenials as well as youth soccer family support. The exponential growth was first seen in ethnically diverse markets like Los Angeles, Houston and San Antonio and young urban markets like Seattle and Portland. In recent years, middle America cities like Kansas City and Salt Lake City have been selling out their 20,000 seat stadium consistently with a mix of millenials and youth soccer families as well as an immigrant population that is much smaller than larger coastal markets, but is still growing. Indianapolis has significant population in all three demos (youth soccer families, millenials and first and second generation immigrants) whose sport of choice is soccer. Needing to cut off season ticket sales at 7,000 five months prior to kicking off is certainly an indication that the market to support professional soccer is here. All 11,000 seats are expected to be sold out for all home games this season and it's safe to say that with all three of those demographics growing, the need for a larger and more suitable stadium exists. Funding it with user generated fees and revenue that would not have existed without the stadium and stadium district is not a hand out nor is it taking money from other public services. In fact, it is projected that the net result will be an increase in the public coffers from the user generated revenues. More information is available on the Indy Eleven website's FAQ page: http://indyeleven.com/faq-future-stadium/
      • Future
        Everybody, if you can't tell the want a MLS stadium. That is there plan, they are getting good recruits, projecting 18500 sellout games. NASL has a peak 10,000 people attend a game, and that is that NY Cosmos. Only the MLS needs a stadium that big. The probably hope to be a "one and done" in the NASL and move up to MLS play like the Montreal Impact did. By the Montreal is half as comparable city to Indy. Also this is not an Indy thing. They hope to bring in fans from Northern to Southern Indiana. Also think of the tourism, me a guy form the very Northeastern corner of the state loves soccer. If I go to Indy(which I do since attend IU) hope to attend an 11 game on their season opener. This is the Worlds Game. Its about time people in the middle of the cornfield realize that we are part of the world.
      • Soccer is Not Popular
        Sorry, Jason, I'm more likely to believe a polling outfit named "Gallup" than some guy named "Luker" who uses questionable methodology in his poll. According to Gallup in 2013, favorite sports were football 39%, baseball 14%, basketball 12% and soccer 4%. Gallup probably didn't poll people younger than 18, but if you think this younger generation that is hooked on instant gratification and excitement is going to be the fan of a sport in which a 2-1 game is a high scoring game, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
      • Crony Capitalism
        Everyone knows Ersal Ozdemir will get his free stadium, just like he got his free Broad Ripple parking garage. Mayor Ballard is only about giving presents to his connected friends, while the rest of us have to suffer through unplowed roads, bullets flying through our neighborhoods and jobs continuing to leave Marion County. Hopefully the voters of Marion County have learned from the mistake of the past two elections.
      • Steve may in fact be correct
        Ersal or any of his companies, Keystone et.al. Should be precluded from contracts, development fees, etc.... If this ever gets legs.... The team needs a 2-3 year operating history 1st before our politicians even listen to this absurdity. We don't need a repeat performance of the Broad Ripple Parking Garage with illusory cost numbers to act like the developer contributed costs but in reality until an AUDIT is conducted no one really knows. I know of a developer that built a 204 parking spot 5 story parking garage for a condo complex for $4.9 million in 2006 (excluding land). Not sure how or why the city gave him >$6.2 mill? Too many related parties makes things smelly.
      • Just a thought
        Why doesn't Indy Eleven consider the German soccer club model, whereby the fans own stock in the club (up to 82%, as is the case with defending champs Bayern Munich). Then they can demonstrate true loyalty figures, plus they won't have to rely on one financial backer (poor Ersal) to front the cost. Also, I agree with Steve - $87 million for a soccer stadium is absurd. Have some financial common sense.
      • Inflated Stadium Cost
        The $87 million figure for an 18,000 multipurpose stadium is absurd. The owner should show his cost estimate in detail. Victory Field only cost $18 million and it wasn't that long ago, and the Indians paid for half of that cost. HEY URSAL: pay for it yourself!!!
      • Westfield?
        I cant believe people are suggesting going to westfield. The westfield complex is dumber than this idea.
      • Gray Bar Motel Extended Stay
        Any politician that pushes this agenda, without personal guarantees from its principals , a 3 year operating history for the team that is AUDITED and VERIFIABLE and available for public inspection deserves prison time in the event this fails. If it fails, who pays?After 3 years they should have sufficient information to see what debt level can really be supported. These politicians run Indy like a banana republic! If the Egytian businessman wants a stadium out of the box he needs to pull up his big boy pants and figure it out like a REAL BUSINESSMAN would. I wish him well in his quest to bring soccer here but he needs to prove the BUSINESS is worthy before the BUSINESS gets taxpayer backing at the $87M level. Not totally against this but it is grossly negligent for any taxpayer debt guarantee or loan at this juncture. We have supported the Indians Stadium and that BUSINESS MODEL works. So crawl some...
      • see "What"! at 5:05
        He said it all. Unfortunately, Ersal Ozdemir will continue to slurp up more money from the public trough unless the citizens finally begin to hold accountable the corrupt politicians who either take kickbacks form him or do what his hired guns (Murray, Okeson), who happen to be their former colleagues and bosses, ask them to.
      • Statistics
        >What statistics do you have to support this? Professional soccer is currently the second-most popular spectator sport for Americans aged 12-24, according to the 2011 ESPN Sports Poll. Source: http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/relegationzone/id/262?cc=5901
      • Team ??
        What happens after the first year that a team that is under budgeted finishes .250 has 3k fans going to games by season ends. We hoing to have the same energy in building they will come. I'm a soccer guy and while the marketing of this team has been brilliant. The reality will be in the product on display. Those who know will be left saying told you so.
      • Soccer Popular with Younger People?
        IndyTodd said: "However, I do recognize the enormous popularity of soccer with younger people and also realize the soccer audience demographics are something the city would like to retain/draw for citizens." What statistics do you have to support this? Soccer is a popular participatory sport for young kids and has been for about three decades. But it has never been a popular spectator sport in the United States, and that includes with younger people. For decades the soccer people keep trotting out the claim that soccer is going to be popular in the US and they keep getting proven wrong again and again. The sport is no more popular than it was 20 years ago in the US and it will not be popular 20 years from now. Americans aren't going to sit around for over an hour watching 1-0 soccer games. Not going to happen.
        • Subsidies???
          Another for-profit entertainment business looking for taxpayer subsidies? Indy can't afford roads, schools or police, but we need to provide taxpayer subsidies to every rich sports franchise owner? Saw this one coming for months as our favorite local 'developer' who supports every Republican elected official got ready to line up at the taxpayer funding trough.
        • Enough already.
          Get the jocks off your faces and put them back in the drawer. We need help with snow removal, roads, education, support for the ISO and our arts community, support for our small businesses and support for the general welfare and culture of this city. We do not - do not - need another sports-spawned parasite. We need to figure out what it takes to be a real city. I'll give you the Colts and the Pacers. They give us something to ameliorate our Indy-feriority complex. But another Super Bowl? Cricket? Soccer? Enough is enough. Go visit Pittsburgh and then come back and tell me we need all this useless sports jock sniffing to be a real city. Enough already.
        • Market Demand
          By the way, I completely agree with those saying that waiting a few years to see how popular this actually is will be the most prudent thing. I'm open to the idea of giving them some of their tax revenue generated back for a new stadium but I'm not entirely sold on the financial viability of soccer in Indy or if they really need an 18,000 seat $87,000,000 stadium. If they prove the demand is there in the marketplace then that's great and I would support this. At least with the Colts and Pacers we knew the level of demand prior to building their new venues. With this new team I think it's somewhat difficult to say how many people will be at their games in two or three years. I'm also curious how expensive this is to say Victory Field in inflation adjusted figures. $87 million feels like a lot for this sort of team that would be doing well to even draw what the Indians draw per game.
        • Hope you're right, Dale
          I hope you're right, Dale, for their sake. I personally don't think those numbers will equal strong attendance for years and the need to build a new stadium before they've played. I've played intramural soccer as an adult and played as a kid growing up and have zero interest in sitting and watching a game. Those two don't equal each other. And it's very easy to click "Like" on Facebook. I think it will take A LOT more than that to require building an $87 million stadium. I'm not trying to hate on Indy Eleven. I hope they succeed. I'm just trying to be a realistic voice and I think it's ridiculous to jump the gun because of premature excitement. Gotta prove yourself first.
        • Maria misses again
          Maria, you are correct that the league office of the NFL is a non-profit but the teams (where the revenue is generated and almost entirely goes to) are not non-profits. The Colts, Pacers, etc. pay taxes just like any other for profit business. The league office is essentially considered a trade organization. There is no comparison between the amount of welfare granted to non-profits like art museums and sports.
        • re: IndyTodd
          IndyTodd, nice try. Professional sports leagues are also non profits. For example, the NFL.
        • Why not wait?
          Why not wait and see what the actual demand for tickets are after 4 or 5 years and THEN ask for money for a new stadium? Isn't the 7,000 season ticket number everyone is throwing around only the number of $25 deposits and not actual season tickets sold? Even if they do sell 7,000 season tickets, why is a 20,000 seat stadium needed?
        • As for supporting the arts...
          One thing that many people clamoring for more public arts support never mention is their non-profit status. There is already tremendous public funding for the arts (without a single bit of funding) just by virtue of their non-profit status. I like the arts too but they have to acknowledge the already receive an enormous tax break that is far better than most any welfare for sports teams that exists.
        • Westfield
          Put it in Westfield as part of Grand Park. You're already going to have all of the smaller fields, so a larger stadium for bigger games makes perfect sense. And make the owner pay for it. No more handouts. To those asking who wants to go to Westfield, i'll counter with who wants to drive to downtown? Only reason they want this downtown is because they've got the city in their back pocket.
          • It will happen
            It is mind blowing that the same guy keeps getting our tax dollars. But I guarantee it will happen (again). Here is why: 1. Mr. Ozdemir was Co-chair of Governor Pence's fundraising committee. 2. Mr. Ozdemir is a large and frequent contributor to Mayor Ballard's Campaign. 3. Mr. Ozdemir gave free space to Mayor Ballard's transition committee and is the current landlord for the Marion County Republican Party. 4. Mr. Ozdemir was Chair of Congressman Rokita's Transition Committee. 5. Mr. Ozdemir was the Chairman of the Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee. 6. Mr. Ozdemir is close personal friends and contributor with State Rep. Jerry Torr. 7. Mr. Ozdemir's business development VP is Mayor Ballard's former Chief of Staff, Paul Okeson. 8. Mr. Ozdemir has recently decided to hedge his bets. He has just hired a second business development officer, Jasmine Shaheed-Young. Jasmine is Congressman Carson's Sister-in-law and former director of finance. 9. Mr. Ozdemir has hired Murray Clark to lobby for him. Mr. Clark is former chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. Mr. Ozdemir realizes how the game works, as we all do. But the difference is that he chooses to participate in the game and suck our City and State for all he can get. Mr. Ozdemir fancies himself as someone who "invests" in our city, but all he does is take and take and take. It will continue to happen until his political buddies figure out how detrimental it is to be associated with him. I hope the soccer team succeeds. But I hope we do not give Mr. Ozdemir tens of millions of dollars more of our tax money. (Please note that the article said $5 million PER YEAR. How many years?)
          • Yes, Amazing
            Anthony: amazingly popular based on the 60,000-strong Indiana Soccer Association--not to mention the thousands of adults who participate in the sport as players and coaches. Indy Eleven has over 27,000 Facebook likes and over 11,000 Twitter followers. The season ticket sales are at 7,000 and had to be capped so that single ticket buyers could attend the games. All of these number are astounding considering the team hasn't played one game yet. The demand is there for professional Indiana soccer.
            • Love It
              Sounds like a couple folks have drank some haterade on here and want to make it personal lol. If this team does well and the numbers are strong we could possibly see this city having an MLS team, that would be a super good look for the city. Indy needs stuff like this to keep the young folks from moving to the coasts. Good luck to the Indy 11.
            • Indy 11 deserves a stadium
              Why shouldn't soccer fans have a stadium just like all the other sports? The rest of the world supports soccer. It is about time we Americans get on board!
            • STOP THE MADNESS!!
              COME ON ERSAL! Get you hand out of the taxpayers' pocket once and for all! You already got a free parking garage with our money, thanks to your buddy the Mayor. Your projections of $8.8 million in NEW tax revenue are ABSURD, let's see some specifics!! The demand for soccer in Indy will never average more than 5K people per match. Minor league soccer has been tried here before and failed. Just because people put in deposits for season tix does not mean they will buy!! STOP THIS MADNESS
            • Another Handout Request?
              I'm sure everyone is just as surprised as I am that Keystone is again looking for the public to pay for their project. Let's see what the return on the public's investment in the Keystone parking garage in Broad Ripple is so far... I'm guessing less than you can earn in a savings account these days. Let's also be sure to audit the construction costs so we can all see the contractor profit and developer fees that Keystone will be paying itself on this $87 million project. And where does that money come from? That's right - the taxpayer.
            • Welfare for the wealthy developers
              Ozdemir is without question Indiana's largest welfare queen. Nothing he has developed has come without the juice of influence and the taxpayers paying the bill. Shameful.
            • Popular?
              Indy soccer is "amazingly popular" based on what? An initial rush of $25 deposits? You must have a large sample base ( i.e. 5+ yrs of high attendance) before labeling something as "amazingly popular." If I currently wanted to watch live soccer I would have to travel to a University and I attended IU, who had national championship teams and they were not well attended.
              • Maria's math
                Maria, You are only looking at normal sales tax on tickets sold. There is also a user tax on sports tickets downtown beyond normal sales tax. I don't remember exactly what that percentage is but it adds more to the tax revenue generated. I'm sure they are also including tax on concessions sold, parking, merchandise (shirts, hats, jerseys, etc.) sold along with probably some other things we aren't thinking about. The bottom line is obviously they are not planning on the average ticket being $170 and have likely built some forecast to project the tax revenue. Now, it's vital for the city to audit that number and make sure they agree with the projections. For me my take on this largely hinges upon how financially viable soccer is going to be in coming decades in downtown Indy. If they can really draw an average of 10-15k per game and just want a portion of new tax revenue generated to pay for a nice facility for the city to have downtown it's worth considering. The facility would be something that could be used for other events beyond just the team's games. If it's just a matter of giving back roughly half of new tax revenue generated by the facility to build a nice, new stadium that is an assset for the community and to support a business that helps draw and retain the creative class to Indy I'm ok with that. The concern is what if the team is not financially viable and folds then I would assume the taxpayers get stuck with paying for the stadium for decades to come with tax revenues not being generated in that stadium. That is a scary thought. By the way, I'm feel like I'm fairly objective on this as I'm not a big soccer fan unlike football or basketball. I'm sure I'd go to a game now and then (especially if our young children start to like soccer in a few years) but I'm not lining up to buy season tickets. However, I do recognize the enormouse popularity of soccer with younger people and also realize the soccer audience demographics are something the city would like to retain/draw for citizens. None of us have enough of the financial projections on this to really know whether it's a good financial deal for the city or not. It is silly though to just reject it because it would involve using a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. With the mindset some of you have we'd all be riding horses on dirt trails home to our log cabins with an outhouse. Personally, I'd rather invest more money in things that make our city an attractive place to live for people that have the financial/educational background to choose where they live vs. just throwing more money at problems that will never solved.
              • No thank you
                I am not super knowledgeable about sports but I do get nervous when private business asks for public monies, especially in such large amounts. We are already building new facilities ( Cricket Fields) and seem to have stadiums, soccer venues ,and enough other sporting venues. There are other state and city services to enhance quality of life that I would prefer to see money spent on.
              • Exactly Right
                This is exactly right…just think back to what Indy was 30+ years ago. Sports, tourism, and conventions are what made the modern Indianapolis economy. This is just an extension of this strategy…Indiana soccer is amazingly popular.
                • Another Handout
                  So Keystone wants the taxpayers to pay for its project. Wow! Never saw that coming!?! Pay for your own toys, Ersal!
                • Let the voters decide
                  Since the legislature is so hell bent on letting votes decide on the marriage amendment, they should let the voters decide if they want to continue supporting these sports stadiums and millionaires. But we all know that will never happen.
                • Lies
                  They think they will generate $8.8 million from ticket tax revenue?? That means there will be $88 million in ticket revenue. If there are 28 games in a season, that means $3,142,857 in ticket revenue per game. If every game is a sellout of 18,500, that means the average ticket price is $170? GIVE ME A BREAK. STOP WITH THE LIES!
                • re: Marshall
                  Marshall, are you seriously comparing this to the nation's educational system? Do you know what would happen if tax money didn't go to pay for children's education? They are the people that will be running this state and country in future years. We NEED them educated and that must be paid for by taxes. If everyone pays for their own child's education then enrollment would plummet and the world would be in a much worse place in 15 years. It's a sports venue...let's compare apples to apples. Or did you want to bring up abortion and religion next?
                • Idea Poorly Taken
                  I enjoy the World Cup, but have you ever noticed that soccer does best in those counties that tend to favor government over the free market, ala our cousins across the pond? No wonder the Eleven feel that they are entitled to some extra government 'support' just to get started. This is a bad idea and a disappointing squandering of goodwill by the new team.
                • re: Marshall
                  Marshall, the real question is, will this team come here whether or not they get the public loan vs a standard loan. They decided to start a team before deciding they wanted a subsidy. And to your point about paying for children to go to school, these "wealthy developers and owners" send their kids to private schools and do pay for them themselves.
                • Estimate of $8 million
                  I understand the idea of wanting to use tax dollars - from ticket taxes - to fund construction, but my fear is the $8 million estimate will actually end up as $3 or $4 million. So, if the City promises $5 million with the hope they'll still see a profit, taxpayers will lose. Anyone remember the parking meter revenue projections? The estimates were much higher than the actual revenue generated.
                • Read the entire article people
                  For those of you complaining about tax money being used, if you read the entire article the owner estimates generating $8M+ from ticket taxes (i.e. user tax), and only asking for $5M back to construct it. There are lots of jobs maintained or created with this too...jobs that generate income taxes and additional sales taxes on money those people spend. And guess what? That extra cash can fund extra police or prisons or any other short-sighted thing you can think of. Plus the stadium is part of a much larger redevelopment plan with housing and retail. It's completely warranted to ask questions regarding these types of projects, but there are better ways than just jumping to conclusions without clearly reading the entire article.
                  • Talking
                    Glad to see that NASL believes in Indianapolis!! This will be a great addition, keep talking.
                  • LOL
                    While I agree with many of the sentiments "expressed" here, I still get a KICK out of reading some of the nonsense you people come up with. Play in Westfield? Are you freaking kidding? Elaine, Indiana is more of a soccer state than you are obviously aware. How exactly did you come up with that generalization? Your own personal taste in sports? And no Susan, I guess we really don't benefit from the hundreds of construction jobs related to building the stadium... and then all the jobs that come with the finished product... and all the income tax those jobs generate... and so on and so on. So many shortsighted people complain about everything. You don't here me whining about having my taxes pay for your kids to go to school, do you? If you want to pop out babies, PAY FOR THEM YOURSELVES! I'd rather some of my tax dollars go to something I like.... like LOCAL SPORTS, for instance.
                  • What?
                    More... jails? Seriously? I came down to the comments section to say I don't really support public funds on an unproven venture. But that comment totally threw me off. Who wants more jails? The private companies who are making money off of them? That's one of the most off-topic, absurd comments I've read on here in a while. Anyway.. On to the actual subject.. 87 million is a little much to shoulder in the age of budget cutbacks. If they can start raising funds on their own behalf and show a lively fan base after 5 or 10 years, that seems like a better time to start their discussion.
                  • No Taxes Used
                    This plan will build a new stadium and won't raise anyone's taxes. There is currently huge demand for soccer in Indy (and for all the economic activity that goes along with it) and no permanent place to play. This costs nobody a dime and will create jobs and will mean more tax money flowing into the budgets, not more money coming out of the budget.
                  • Fund with casino proceeds
                    In Pittsburgh the State of Pennsylvania sold one license for a downtown casino. The cost essentially was that the winning entity had to finance the construction of a new hockey arena. Winners all around. Sell it as a package deal. GM land is given to a casino operator, they build the stadium.
                  • What I said Last Month
                    We need MORE JAILS, fewer trails (and other tax sucking gifts). Let's put up a referrendum and have the rate payers weigh in on Safer Streets VS: a Soccer Venue. Oh yeah, some additional snow removal equipment and a few extra tons of road salt might be helpful in keeping our City appealing to visitors with cash to leave here. I get it that the thugs are killing each other 86% of the time, but rest of the law abiding majority WANT MORE JAILS. VOTE VOTE VOTE. And GO COLTS!!!
                  • Absolutely
                    The GM lot will not only be a soccer specific stadium. Think about it, the GM lot is 100+ some acres. A 20k seat soccer stadium takes up, at most, about 20 acres. That leaves a LOT of room for additional development - such as restaurants, living communities, office buildings, etc. I think the public return for the creation of jobs and another area near downtown to attract visitors will benefit Indianapolis as a whole, and will definitely benefit the west side of Indianapolis.
                  • Build it and they will come...
                    with your OWN money! Yes, Westfield's mayor has enjoyed playing with taxpayer money and utilities. What a joke. The Victory Field idea is brilliant (not to mention the Lucas Oil stadium). Again, if it's profitable...why do you need our $$$.
                  • How about
                    How about if they are going to use public funds for these projects how about they have to go on the ballot....if we make schools and hospitals do it how about sports team. Let the community that are going to be giving up tax income decide if it's a good deal...
                    • Here we go again
                      Wealthy sports owners needing tax payers to foot the bill again. I am sick of this because most of us don't benefit one bit from these stadiums. No, no, no!!!!
                    • Bike Parking
                      Where ever it is can we make sure there is plenty of bike parking. The stadium in Portland just doesn't have enough bike parking and it was a big hassel for those of us who like to bike to games.
                    • Taxes
                      Maybe the state legislature should write into law a bill that would allow me to borrow money based on my future state income payroll taxes... yeah, just give me $200,000 now and I'll keep paying my taxes, the same as I would anyway.
                    • What a joke
                      If you're "just asking for the money that we're going to create" then put your business plan together, show them your early season ticket deposits and go to a bank and get a business loan. Asking for taxpayers money months before your first game is played is a joke. Bad move by the owner. Public approval of Indy Eleven likely just went down drastically.
                    • Wrong size
                      Soccer fans want to be close to the field and a soccer field for such games is 120 by 80 yards. Football fields do not work.
                    • Indy Eleven Story
                      Thought you'd enjoy. Wonder if Indy Eleven is pushing a bit too hard, too early.
                    • No
                      I agree with the "Thanks, but no thanks" sentiments. And, ahem, it *is* a handout when you're asking for the "tax revenue you would generate", because that tax is in place to raise revenue for something else. I don't know what, but maybe police, fire, infrastructure to support traffic, drainage, and wastewater from a point-source facility like a stadium. Who pays those costs? So don't try to paint it differently. And locating a new stadium on the GM site is an absurd waste of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the City. Time for Ersal to start taking a broader civic view, instead of narrowly focusing on initiatives that are personally gratifying (such as pro $occer and his $tadium), but that may not be of primary importance when considering the City as a whole. If you're going to build a new stadium yourself without public subsidy, great. Otherwise, open your eyes a little wider to the more pressing issues - such as jobs, education, neighborhoods. And yes, I bought 2 season tickets, so not a hater, just hating the constant gimme gimme orientation of the developer community. Guess what? There are plenty of folks here in Indy doing great work downtown and in neighborhoods that don't ask for a dime - they do it all on *their* dime. Take a lesson, Ersal, and take a seat.
                    • ABSOLUTELY NOT
                      NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a huge soccer fan, but this is really turning me off on the Indy Eleven. Like others have said, play for a few years and see what the demand is like after the initial hype dies off.
                    • Grand Park?
                      Concerned Citizen - what expandable stadium are you talking about? The Indy Eleven are already going to play at Carroll stadium which can seat around 12,000. Grand Park looks like a little league park. and besides, who wants to go to Westfield?
                      • Use The Vic
                        They should figure out how to share Victory Field with the Indians. More seating could be added either on a temporary or permanent basis.
                      • No Benefit
                        So basically the team will severe virtually no benefit to the community. Any revenue or tax benefit that they would have had for Indianapolis, they want to turn around and keep for themselves to build a stadium and support salaries. I just say we say 'thanks but no thanks for nothing.'
                        • Stadium
                          Why not work out some sort of deal with Lucas Stadium? I'm not familiar with the size they play on but their playing field looks to be the same size as a football field.
                          • what???
                            I think we should be able to clear the streets first - also how about equivalent support for the arts?
                          • get out of my pocket
                            are you kidding. I have never been willing to support some private enterprise sports venture, aka, building a facility. check with simon and irsay for some swag.
                          • NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
                            ABSOLUTELY NOT
                          • Here we go again!
                            Another sports team positioning for access to the trough. Our government is insane for even considering this.
                          • Robin Hood in Reverse
                            Rob from the poor, give to the rich. Seems to be the way we do things in Taxianapolis. These people make me Sick. If this is such a viable venture then let the team pay for it. How's that for a revolutionary idea
                          • Grand Park
                            Since Grand Park in Westfield has a stadium facility built to be adaptable for larger seating could they use that more cost efficiently? W/the bypass mostly complete, transport up North is not that bad.
                          • Restaurant Tax Hike to Follow Again
                            I agree with Maria. I don't think they can sustain the support for this. Indiana is not a soccer state. Don't like paying 9% tax on Indianapolis restaurants now.
                          • Enough is ENOUGH!
                            When will we stop giving handouts to these millionaires?? The city has already given Ersal Ozdemir a parking garage, free of charge, thanks to his buddy Mayor Ballard. How about the team play for a few seasons at IUPUI and see how demand holds up before asking for millions????
                          • Discrepancy
                            It's my understanding that it would be a 20,000 seat stadium. It wouldn't make sense to limit capacity to 8,500 seats when you've sold out the capped 7000 tickets.

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                          1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

                          2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

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