Recently, Indianapolis hosted the Chelsea-Inter game as a part of the Guinness International Champions Cup. You are all probably aware of this because Brian had the awesome opportunity to attend the game as he told on Monday. Today, the Indy Eleven (NASL team in Indy) announced that up until this point in the Champions Cup, the Chelsea-Inter game had the highest attendance. Nearly 42 thousand (41,983) people attended the game last week. That is 1,300 more than the double header played at Dodger Stadium in LA between Everton-Juventus and Real Madrid-LA Galaxy. That 42 thousand is 2,200 more than the attendance at the Chelsea-AC Milan and Valencia-Inter games in New York (East Rutherford, NJ to be exact). 3,000 more than the Real Madrid-Galaxy game in Phoenix. 3,400 more than the games in Miami, 19,300 more than the game at San Francisco, and almost 25,000 more than the game in Valencia (17,000 in attendance) between Valencia and AC Milan. That’s right the home crowd in Valencia barely came out to support their team. Granted, I don’t know if there was anything going on in Valencia, Spain that day that would have limited the number of people at the game but a quick (OK, not that quick) internet search didn’t turn up anything. So aside from that fact, Indy out did huge US soccer cities, New York and LA. Both of these cities have two (New York will have their second soon) MLS teams yet the soccer turn out in Indy was larger for two international teams than either of these cities. That’s especially surprising seeing that the LA Galaxy were playing in LA. The championship game is tonight in Miami and I’m curious to see how many people turn out.
Along with not being thought of as a major soccer city, Indianapolis is the 3rd smallest city of the bunch. It is only slightly larger than San Francisco but the Indianapolis metropolitan area is about two and half times smaller than that of the San Francisco metropolitan area. So in reality Indianapolis is only slightly larger than Valencia, Spain. Yet, in all of this Indianapolis drew the largest crowd. A city that has only recently held try outs for a soccer team that will start play next year in the NASL. I can’t imagine any point during the planning of the this tournament or the 2022 World Cup bid that the US lost to Qatar (Indy was listed as a host city) where someone thought Indianapolis would draw a massive crowd. Yet we did.
My point in all of this, besides the fact that my life completely revolves around numbers right now (if the data was published, I’d show you the Excel spreadsheets that go out to column GW and down to row 74…all cells filled with number) is that Indy is perfectly capable of supporting a soccer team. I say that because time and time again I’ve heard people say that Indy isn’t a big enough market to support multiple professional sports teams. For a while I would have agreed, and still it appears that we struggle to fill the Bankers Life Field House for Pacers’ games and definitely Fever games at times, but the fans are coming back. And, if this past tournament was any metric, there is a huge soccer following in Indianapolis. I also think the fact that the Indy Eleven have already had over 4,700 deposits placed on season tickets for next year shows that soccer is a lot more popular than some people thought. Right now I can’t even get onto the website because so many people are trying to place a $25 deposit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team reached their goal of 5,000 deposits by the end of the week. 5000 seats is about 1,050 seats shy of half the listed capacity of the stadium. In my opinion that is awesome. Congratulations Indy Eleven and I can’t wait for play to start next year. If I wasn’t 1,000 miles away or if I could talk the university into buying me a private Learjet, I would definitely be putting down a deposit for season tickets. Unfortunately, I am 1,000 miles away and there is absolutely no chance that I will be getting my own jet anytime soon, so I’ll root for the hometown team from afar. Fingers crossed, one day the Eleven will get the bump to the MLS and I can watch them play the Rapids. Until then, I’m stoked that the world’s game is being played by an Indiana team. Congratulations again to the Indy Eleven and the Brickyard Battalion on an awesome turnout and a job well done for the Chelsea-Inter match. Finally, I’d like to say that I have no doubt that fútbol is going to do just fine in Indianapolis.
With that I would just like to conclude by saying a very big thank you to all of our readers over the past year. I’ve been thrilled to be a part of Those Sports Guys and am looking forward to writing more posts in the next year. Have a great rest of the week and be sure to check out the other posts the rest of the week (including one more from me most likely a sarcastic post about my Cubs). Thanks again for reading!