Indy Eleven plans return to pitch—with masked fans—on July 11


The Indy Eleven professional soccer team plans to resume its season on July 11 with masked fans in the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The return to action is part of the United Soccer League Championship’s plan to complete the 2020 season after suspending play in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The team’s first match of the season restart will be at 7 p.m., July 11 at Lucas Oil Stadium, against St. Louis FC. It will be telecast on ESPN+.

Fans who attend the game will be required to wear masks at all times, with the exception of when they’re eating or drinking, according to a new safety plan. An Indy Eleven spokesperson said the franchise is working closely with local and state health officials to iron out specific details, but is not setting a specific count for how many fans will be permitted into the stadium.

Instead, the team is limiting ticket sales to the lower bowl of the venue, restricting seats to every other row, with at least six feet between each grouping of four seats. It will also ask fans to enter in waves, rather than all at once.

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said entertainment venues are permitted to open at 50% capacity through July 17, as the state moves into Stage 4.5 of its pandemic recovery plan.

The game is the first in Indy Eleven’s return to a shortened, 16-game regular season, although additional schedule, ticket and broadcast details for the remainder of the season have not yet been finalized. Indy Eleven managed to play one game—a 4-2 win over Memphis 901 FC on March 7—before the season was suspended.

“Every member of the Indy Eleven organization is excited to get back to action and working tirelessly to ensure games at Lucas Oil Stadium starting next weekend go above and beyond when it comes to providing a safe environment,” Indy Eleven CEO Greg Stremlaw said in a media release. “Indianapolis is world-renowned for our ability to host sporting events, and we look forward to helping our city establish the benchmark for how to host games safely and responsibly in home markets during these challenging times.”

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3 thoughts on “Indy Eleven plans return to pitch—with masked fans—on July 11

  1. And what about face shields? There are four primary entry points for viruses and bacteria into the respiratory system of human beings, the nose, mouth, eyes and ears. The ears are typically not the most opportunistic place for viral penetration but the mouth, nose and eyes are. A face mask poorly protects the nose and mouth. What about the eyes? And better yet what about 50% of people that either wear the mask below the nose or completely off the nose?
    After extensive experience working around surgeries and ICUs, I know that masks are more for the protection of a patient from getting something from the person wearing the mask and not protection for the user.
    If this doesn’t show the level of distrust most of us have for this sort of “face mask” directive, then nothing will.

    1. Neil, Didn’t you just make the point for mandating masks? You said, “I know that masks are more for the protection of a patient from getting something from the person wearing the mask and not protection for the user.” That is exactly why the infectious disease experts are saying masks decrease infection. If you are the only person in the stadium wearing a mask you may be helping a few people around you but doing nothing for yourself. If everyone wears a mask, then everyone is doing something for everyone else. In the absence of a mandate, this requires a high degree of altruistic behavior, something most people simply aren’t capable of. It’s why we have speed limits, drunk driving laws, no smoking laws, and many others. I could care less if someone wants to get drunk and crash their car into a tree (provided my insurance premium doesn’t pay for their care), but I care a lot that they might crash into me.

      I am a conservative and find it very interesting that my fellow conservatives seem most opposed to masks when they are the ones that make the same arguments as mine above when it comes to economic issues. People work to put food on their own table, not others.

  2. This is a pretty ridiculous plan. Why in the world would you close off the top half of the stadium and confine everyone to the lower half? How does that help social distancing? Not sure why they thought clusters of four seats was a good idea, either. I have no problem not sitting right next to whomever I came to the game with. And every other row doesn’t put you that far away from other patrons. You could have a lot more social distancing if the top half were opened up. And I agree with what Neil says. You get the impression that whoever designed this ridiculous plan thought the mask requirement by itself would prevent the spread of the virus. Masks are only partly effective. Social distancing is actually more effective.

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