Indy Eleven renews push for downtown soccer stadium

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indy Eleven revealed Wednesday plans for a new downtown stadium, with an $82 million price tag. The publicly funded project would serve as a venue for sports and entertainment, not just soccer games.

Indy Eleven leaders call it a user-funded development with construction paid for by stadium revenue and stadium-generated taxes. The funding mechanism will have to be approved by state lawmakers.

The facility would seat more than 18,000 and be located downtown, though leaders said there's no specific site, yet.

"There's a large amount of money. There's no doubt about it. It's an efficient use of the money," said Peter Wilt, President and General Manager of Indy Eleven.

Wilt showed off the venue to soccer supporters at Union Jack Pub Wednesday night in Broad Ripple. Many said a soccer stadium is needed her to make the Circle City a true sports hub.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the city," said Teresa Lyons, a soccer fan.

"It's essential for the long-term viability of Indy Eleven in this city," said Andrew Retz, a soccer fan club president.

Indy Eleven pushed for a stadium in 2014, but state lawmakers held it up. The club is using their attendance record to tout their case now. All fourteen games in their first season sold out, with league-leading average attendance, just under 11,000.

"It's going to be a jewel for downtown Indianapolis that will be an economic driver," said Wilt.

State Representative Todd Huston filed the bill to provide the funding for the stadium. He said there are ongoing negotiations between the city, state, and Indy Eleven about the funding formula.

"How it's funding is absolutely all in talks," said Huston.

Huston said it will involve capturing certain state income and sales taxes along with stadium revenue. But critics are already out there, wondering who will pick up the tab if that ends up not being enough.

"It potentially could fall on taxpayers, either of the state, the city, or Indy Eleven, and those are things that we're working through right now," said Huston.

Indy Eleven said the stadium would hold more than fifty annual events, of that ten percent of all ticket revenue would fund construction costs.

Huston said the matter will come before the House's Ways and Means Committee in the coming weeks. Indy Eleven officials told supporters Wednesday night to start contacting their lawmakers and pushing for passage.

For more information on the project from Indy Eleven, click here.