Indy Eleven bids for Major League Soccer expansion franchise

Club Founder & Owner Ersal Ozdemir delivered bid to MLS President Mark Abbott on the Tuesday, January 31, 2017, deadline date for expansion applications;
Prospective Ownership Group bolstered by Four Central Indiana Business Leaders, more to come


INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven took another historic step toward building professional soccer in Indiana, formally announcing its bid to bring a Major League Soccer expansion franchise to the Hoosier State.

Indy Eleven Founder & Owner Ersal Ozdemir delivered the club’s official application book to MLS President Mark Abbott at the league’s headquarters in New York City on Tuesday, which marks the deadline day for prospective ownership groups to submit their expansion bids.

“Indy Eleven has permanently established professional soccer in America’s premier sports city, and now is the time to show that Indianapolis is the next great MLS city,” said Ozdemir. “We are excited to make the case for our tremendous fan base, dedicated partners, visionary civic leaders and all Hoosiers who embrace the sport.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity ahead for both the Indy Eleven organization and the City of Indianapolis and look forward to working with the team throughout the application process,” said Maggie Lewis, President of the City-County Council.

Indy Eleven’s expansion bid is built upon four strengths the club has exhibited since its founding in January 2013:

  • Fan Support: With just under 10,000 fans per game across its first three seasons, Indy Eleven has proven it has the fan base to support Major League Soccer. The addition of MLS, as it has in other markets, will cause these attendance numbers to grow dramatically.
  • Stadium Project: A downtown location with convenient access for motorists and pedestrians has been identified for a 20,000-seat stadium built with soccer as the focal point. As with the city’s other world-class sporting venues, the new stadium will be within walking distance of all the tremendous shopping, dining and activities that downtown Indianapolis has to offer.
  • Local Ownership: The club has commitments from a great group of owners who live and work in Central Indiana – and know what Indianapolis is about. This growing group is ready to lend their successful business backgrounds, strategic values, and financial resources to help make Indy Eleven’s expansion bid a winner. The list of prospective investors, which is expected to grow in the coming days, currently includes:
    • Ersal Ozdemir – Founder & CEO, Keystone Realty Group
    • Mickey Maurer – Chairman of the Board, National Bank of Indianapolis and IBJ Corp
    • Jeff Laborsky – President & CEO of Heritage
    • Mark Elwood – CEO of Elwood Staffing
    • Andy Mohr – Founder & Owner of Mohr Auto Group
  • Corporate Community Support: Indy Eleven has cultivated relationships with a tremendous group of sponsors, companies with strong global, national and local recognition like Honda (the team’s first Corporate Partner and primary jersey sponsor), McDonald’s, Finish Line, Anthem, Allegion and Community Health Network, counting amongst the dozens of current partners. This is a list that will grow exponentially to meet the exposure opportunities that participation in Major League Soccer will provide.