The Indiana House on Thursday voted 83-6 to approve Senate Bill 385, which adds two years to a 2019 bill that had called for a new special tax district—known as a professional sports development area, or PSDA—to be established in Marion County by mid-2022.
The team’s return to the IUPUI campus follows challenges in scheduling weekend games at Lucas Oil Stadium, which already has a busy slate of conventions and other sporting events throughout the year—including Indianapolis Colts home games.
Senate Bill 385, authored by Republican Sen. Jack Sandlin of Indianapolis, would add two years to a 2019 bill that had called for a new special tax district—known as a professional sports development area—to be established in Marion County by mid-2022.
Indy Eleven officials said last week that they plan to announce a location for the proposed $550 million Eleven Park development—which would include a stadium—by the end of March.
The new occupancy limit is the latest development in the see-saw saga of the soccer club’s attendance during the pandemic.
The county health department said it was reducing the soccer team’s capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium to match what will be allowed at this weekend’s Colts game.
The Indianapolis Colts will be limited to 2,500 spectators at Sunday’s home football opener at Lucas Oil Stadium even though crowds for Indy Eleven soccer games at the venue have regularly doubled that figure since early July.
The Indy Eleven soccer team got back into action Saturday, opening its 2020 home season before a thinned-out crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Safety precautions for the team’s season restart also will include limiting ticket sales to the lower bowl of Lucas Oil Stadium and restricting seats to every other row, with at least six feet between each grouping of four seats.
NBA and NFL teams will face a considerable financial hit if they are forced to play with no fans in the stands, but, thanks to their lucrative TV contracts, it won’t knock them into the red.
The United Soccer League said it was “temporarily suspending” its season over COVID-19 concerns, following the lead of the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. The Eleven will miss at least five games.
With its chances of joining Major League Soccer in question, Indy Eleven is considering significantly cutting the number of seats with which its new stadium would debut.
The law, which passed with bipartisan support in April, created funding plans for most of a $360 million renovation of Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the construction of a $150 million soccer stadium for the Indy Eleven by diverting millions of dollars in annual state tax revenue to the Capital Improvement Board.
The Indy Eleven drew average crowds of more than 10,000 per game to Lucas Oil Stadium in their second year in the United Soccer League.
Indy Eleven officials would like to bring a professional women’s soccer franchise to Indianapolis, but it could be several years before that’s possible.
Owner Ersal Ozdemir still has many hurdles to leap to make his soccer stadium a reality, even though he scored a huge Statehouse victory in April by winning approval of a funding mechanism.
State lawmakers are done making changes to legislation that would provide millions in additional revenue to the Capital Improvement Board, help keep the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis for the next 25 years and potentially support a permanent soccer stadium for the Indy Eleven.
The Indy Eleven, who have expressed previous interest in joining MLS, declined to comment on their current interest while they are waiting for legislative approval for their plan to build a stadium.
State lawmakers on Monday significantly amended legislation designed to provide long-term funding mechanisms to the Capital Improvement Board, keep the Indiana Pacers in the city for at least another 25 years and support building a permanent soccer stadium for the Indy Eleven.
The deal will see WISH-TV and WNDY-TV split a 20-game slate for Indy Eleven’s 2019 season.