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Sports Business

Indy Eleven to spill beans about future league, venue

January 10, 2018
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Editor's note: Indy Eleven spokesman Steven Krusie told IBJ shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday that the press conference was no longer happening and that the team would "send a media advisory out shortly."

After much conjecture about what the next season will bring, the Indy Eleven pro soccer team will host a 2 p.m. press conference Wednesday to answer questions about its future. 

It’s looking more like the city’s minor-league soccer team will be joining the United Soccer League with each passing day.

The North American Soccer League, in which the Eleven have competed for the past four years, announced on Monday that it will skip its spring league and instead will open its season in August. 

Traditionally, the NASL has kicked off its season in April. The postponement is a sign that the NASL is on life support, but there's plenty of other evidence.

Only one of eight teams has a coach, and players are jumping to other leagues, according to multiple reports.

The San Diego expansion franchise likely will delay its debut until 2019.

In September, the NASL was demoted from Division 2 to third-tier status for the 2018 season by the United States Soccer Federation.

Also in September, the NASL sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming that it has illegally protected the monopoly position of its business partner, Major League Soccer. There has been speculation that NASL might fold rather than play with Division 3 status.

Meanwhile, with 30 teams and an affiliation with MLS, the USL seems to be flourishing, at least in relative terms.

Indy Eleven spokesman Steven Krusie told IBJ on Wednesday morning that team owner Ersal Ozdemir and president Jeff Belskus would make an announcement about the team’s future at Wednesday’s press conference at the team’s headquarters downtown.

“They will answer all those questions about the team’s future,” Krusie said, including in which league the team will play this season.

On Friday it was reported by the website SocTakes that the team would join the United Soccer League for its 2018 season and host its home games in Lucas Oil Stadium, citing “multiple sources.”

Krusie confirmed to IBJ over the weekend that the team was in ongoing talks about the possibility of playing future games in the stadium but that no decisions had been made. A source close to the stadium told IBJ the team could play some, but not all, of its future games at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Since its debut in 2014, Indy Eleven has played all of its home games at the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the IUPUI campus. In the 2017 season, it topped all NASL teams in attendance by averaging 8,397 per game for its 16-game home schedule.

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