INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis has been chosen among only a handful of other U.S. cities as a host to one of the Guinness International Champions Cup game that can be viewed in more than 150 countries tonight.
Indy Eleven, Indiana’s new professional soccer team, and other groups are behind the hosting opportunity. Chelsea FC and Inter Milan will play in the match.
“I think it’s a great addition for the city to bring people in get a new sport going,” said Katelyn Dapper, a sports fan.
“This soccer game allows us to have that broader audience,” said Leonard Hoops, CEO of Visit Indy.
Visit Indy officials said they supported Indy Eleven as it pushed hard for this opportunity because of the predicted economic impact games like these can have on the city.
“You’re talking about the most popular sport in the World, and what is arguably the most sport-centric city, which is Indianapolis,” said Hoops.
Indy Eleven officials are expecting more than 40,000 fans in the stadium.
“This is important to establish Indianapolis as a soccer market for the future. There are opportunities to have us as national team friendly games and eventually World Cup qualifiers. This is absolutely an important stepping stone in growing the sport in Indiana,” said Peter Wilt, president and general manager of Indy Eleven.
Wilt also spoke to the economic opportunity. His team has already sold several hundred more season tickets since the announcement of the high-profile match.
Several business owners downtown are hopeful.
“I saw a lot of Inter jerseys,” said Giorgio Migliaccio, owner Giorgio’s. “It’s always good for business.”
The international cup will be played in six U.S. cities and one European city between July 27 and August 7.