The Indy Eleven’s move to Lucas Oil Stadium is paying off—at least in the short run.
After four home games, the soccer team is experiencing a dramatic spike in attendance following its move to Lucas Oil from Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the IUPUI campus.
Breaking down the numbers, attendance through the first four games averaged 11,200, up 46 percent from average attendance of 7,700 last year through this point in the season. Unpredictable spring weather might have influenced last year’s early numbers. The Eleven finished the season averaging 9,170.
“Lucas Oil Stadium has been a big success for us so far,” said Indy Eleven President Jeff Belskus.
Of course, with a capacity of 63,000, Lucas Oil is more spacious than IUPUI’s outdoor stadium. But the 11,200 spectators the Indy Eleven is averaging per game tops its biggest crowd at its former field. The Eleven drew 11,000 for its inaugural game in 2014.
Whether the Eleven can draw more fans remains to be seen, but the early numbers bode well for a team that moved this season to the United Soccer League, a 33-team Division 2 professional league.
Joining the USL and playing at Lucas Oil could give the Indy Eleven a better shot at someday meeting its goal of playing in Major League Soccer, the top professional league in the United States.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that the team is winning. The Eleven is 4-2-1 and beat defending USL champion Louisville City FC on Saturday 1-0. The team travels Friday to play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC before returning home May 19 to take on Bethlehem Steel FC.
The Eleven will host 17 games this season at Lucas Oil.