A brief recap of the Indy Eleven stadium situation so far: Team owner Ersal Ozdemir asked for $87 million in public funds in 2014 for an 18,500-seat stadium so his then-preparing-to-join-the-NASL team could join MLS, then asked again the next year, then the state countered with a plan to instead provide $20 million to renovate Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis’s stadium but that died in committee, then team execs said they really only wanted a new stadium anyway, then state senate offered to give Ozdemir $112 million if he could promise an MLS team but he wouldn’t say if he was ready to put in $30 million himself, then the state house said never mind about that MLS guarantee, here’s $112 million.
You can totally see where this is going:
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.
That’s right: Now that Indy Eleven‘s owner successfully got $112 million in stadium cash for a $150 million to $200 million stadium so his minor-league team can join MLS, he’s maybe going to just build a smaller (presumably cheaper) stadium because he’s not really going to join MLS yet.
The city of Indianapolis, to its credit, is holding off on final approval of a deal, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, “until the team answers a few major questions, including where the stadium would be located and when it would open, whether the franchise expects to be part of MLS by the time it opens, and how Indy Eleven would pay for its portion of the stadium.” No word yet on whether approval will still be forthcoming if the answers to the latter two questions are “no” and “with pocket change once we cut the price tag to $112 million or so.” But given how things typically go in Indiana, I’m guessing Ozdemir doesn’t have to worry too hard that the state or city is going to stop payment on its checks.