skip navigation

Why Eleven Park is poised to become the next landmark venue in the USL Championship

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/12/24, 7:25AM EDT


Years in the making, the 20,000-capacity venue and mixed-use development is set to open in 2026

The 20,000-capacity stadium at the center of Eleven Park's $1 billion mixed-use development is set to open in 2026 and promises to bring a new era to the club's history. | Photo courtesy Indy Eleven

For those that tuned into the USL Championship’s first broadcast on CBS this past weekend and saw the electric atmosphere at Louisville City FC’s Lynn Family Stadium as it hosted Indy Eleven, there’s this.

Soon, LouCity’s biggest rival is going to have the most talked-about example of the USL’s stadium boom.

Set to open in 2026, Eleven Park is the future home of Indy Eleven and for the USL Championship its next landmark venue. Anticipated to have a 20,000 capacity, it would become the largest soccer-specific stadium built for one of the league’s clubs, part of a $1 billion mixed-use development on the banks of the White River.

It will put the Boys in Blue firmly on the map in a city that between recently welcoming the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, the NBA All-Star Game and being the home to the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers and Fever and the Indianapolis 500 has become accustomed to hosting major sporting events.

Indy Eleven entered its second decade on the field this season, but the task of constructing a permanent home has been a long-term project. With work underway, the start of the club’s second chapter is on the horizon and represents its progression from a start-up to a prominent fixture in the U.S. soccer landscape.

“Like a lot of different industries, a lot of different sports, a lot of different leagues, I think the evolution from our end has been a positive one,” Indy Eleven President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Stremlaw told recently. “Not everything’s always going to go seamlessly but the fact is, we’re very bullish on this market. We love the community. It’s the crossroads of America for a reason. …  We feel now though it's time to show another level for professional soccer here in Indiana.”

Indy Eleven has boasted some of the best support in the USL Championship since its arrival in the league in 2018, with its longtime fans eager for what Eleven Park will bring the club and the city. | Photo courtesy Matt Schlotzhauer / Indy Eleven

For the club’s fans, it also serves as a landmark moment. While they’ve enjoyed the charms of Michael A. Carroll Stadium for most of the club’s history – with some affectionately dubbing it “the greatest dive bar in American soccer,” per former Brickyard Battalion President Peter Evans – the opening of a permanent home has the potential to transform the club and the area of Indianapolis it will call home.

“I think it’s going to be so much fun to play there every home game,” said Brickyard Battalion member Patrick Cummings. “Personally, working right across the street, I’m excited to see how that changes the neighborhood that we’re in in a positive way. Where the stadium is going is on the edge of downtown, an area that people just kind of drive through currently, so it’ll be cool to see what develops around the stadium as the years go on.”

For Stremlaw, that off-field impact is equally as important. As much as the opening of Eleven Park will open new opportunities for the club – including moving Indy Eleven Women’s team into the professional ranks in the USL Super League – the bigger ambition for the club’s leadership is to build a place for everyday use that residents of Indianapolis and visitors to the city can be part of and enjoy.

“We’re not just talking about building a soccer stadium,” said Stremlaw. “We’re talking about a stadium surrounded by a world-class district, which is a gamechanger compared to what others have done. We’re excited by that.

“It will have an indoor concert and music entertainment center. It will have a large four-acre plaza for watch parties and community gathering events and places for kids to play and families to come. It’ll have a lot of restaurants and food and beverage opportunities, commercial real estate, hotels. It’s the entire district that we think goes together hand-in-hand with the stadium itself.”

In putting together a project of this scale, Stremlaw has been grateful to the outside parties that stand to make Eleven Park a success. While Indy owner Ersal Ozdemir brings his own level of expertise as developer – and “a very, very good one,” as Stremlaw notes – the partnerships the club has entered have helped bring the project forward.

Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir speaks at the official groundbreaking of Eleven Park last May, which launched the start of the $1 billion development's construction. | Photo courtesy Indy Eleven

In addition to having Populous as the project’s national design firm and Browning Day as the local architect of record, the club has also partnered with Design 3 International as its official master planner and with AECOM Hunt as its Construction Manager. All the groups have experience with major developments and stadium projects. In turn they have provided the club with best-in-class insights as it creates its permanent home.

“We’re not trying to pretend that we have all the answers,” said Stremlaw. “We think we’re good at a number of things, but that whole package coming together is not only exciting, but it’s enlightening because you’re also learning through the process as well. That’s what due diligence is all about. … It’s exciting but humbling in the sense that it is a large, behemoth project and it does take a lot of experts coming together to share their expertise in their specific domains working collaboratively together.”

As grand as Eleven Park appears, it is one of many stadium projects at various stages across the USL Championship and League One. Currently in its inaugural season, Rhode Island FC is set to move into its permanent home at Tidewater Landing in 2025, while work continues for clubs including the Championship’s New Mexico United, Sacramento Republic FC and League One club Lexington SC to create permanent homes in their cities.

A rendering of the interior of Eleven Park, which is set to open in 2026. | Photo courtesy Indy Eleven

For Stremlaw, the completion and opening of Eleven Park is an essential part of the long-term business success for Indy, but it will also contribute to the commercial growth the USL has experienced as it adds new media partners and league-wide corporate partnerships.

“We’re excited to be a significant part of all the things that the United Soccer League is doing,” said Stremlaw. “We feel that we’re a preeminent franchise in the United Soccer League. We want to be the best, and to do that we feel we do need a permanent home so that we can escalate some of the things that we’re doing from a business vantage point as well as for our fans.

“Our fans deserve it. They’ve continuously come and support us, so we’re looking forward to having that new stadium open and enjoying it with them.”

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos