INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Big time, world soccer, is about to make its debut in Indianapolis.
Two internationally known teams will face off at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday night in an international Champions Cup soccer match. But are you buying what professional soccer is selling? How many seats will be filled at Lucas Oil Stadium when the match begins?
Chelsea FC is taking on Inter Milan on the grass turf at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday night. For soccer fans, this is a big deal.
Cyndi Amidon plays soccer herself back home in Florida.
"They're two major teams and you don't really get to see them that often," she says.
Her brother Aaron plays as well.
"I just like the whole competitive feeling really," he says.
The Amidon family is visiting Indianapolis from Florida, and they're considering extending the trip to go to the game, says Cyndi and Aaron's dad Frank.
"We're trying to change our travel plans to see if we can stick around for the game. But it's certainly a draw," says Amidon.
It's a draw for fans of world class soccer.
"But this game has gone beyond the soccer hardcore. And even the people that just have a general interest in sports or in events I think are gravitating to this game," says
Peter Wilt, President of Indianapolis' new professional soccer team, the Indy Eleven. Wilt is among those who lured the match to Indianapolis. There are games in only three other U.S. cities — New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
"And they decided that this would be a good market and ticket sales have been fantastic. So I think, their faith in Indy is paying off," says Wilt.
Promoter Relevant Sports isn't releasing ticket sales numbers yet. But Indy Eleven says more than 40,000 fans will be at Lucas Oil. All $30 seats have been sold. Seats remaining go for $45 to $250.
A good showing Thursday night is important for the future of professional soccer in the city, says Daniel Jones, owner of Chatam Tap on Mass Ave, a local soccer bar.
"When something is becoming more and more popular, it obviously attracts more attention, so a big crowd, people may say, man I'm missing out, maybe I should hop on the bandwagon here or find out what this is all about," he says.
The owner of Indy Eleven says fan reaction to tomorrow's match gives him confidence professional soccer will succeed in Indianapolis. He says the team has already sold nearly 5,000 season tickets. The season kicks off next spring.
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