Soccer will soon strike Indianapolis airwaves. Indy Eleven and ESPN 1070 leaders announced a new partnership today in a press conference in the lobby of Monument Circle’s Emmis Building. A new radio program called “Soccer Saturdays, presented by Indy Eleven” will begin airing on 107.5 FM and 1070 AM on March 29. The show will be hosted by 1070 program director Greg Rakestraw and will cover not just the Eleven squad but also the sport as played at the local, national, and global levels.
“It’s amazing to have this outlet,” team president and general manager Peter Wilt tells IM. “Soccer, whether it’s an inferiority complex or whatever, has never had the traditional media platforms. And it’s found its own niche, almost underground, online. There’s a ton of outlets on the Internet to get opinions and information, but in traditional media, it really isn’t there. To finally have one like that in Indiana is unique.”
Wilt continued: “What I love is the opportunity to have all types of soccer discussed. This isn’t just Indy Eleven’s show. We could’ve had it that way, but that’s not what we want. Soccer’s more than just Indy Eleven. It’s about the kids, it’s about the college players, it’s about the international game, the national team. It’s like what Greg said, I don’t know how we’re going to get all that information in an hour, but like they always say, leave ’em wanting more.”
To that end, Wilt and his team will announce two more players joining the Eleven roster tonight, in an event at Flat12 Bierwerks on the near-east side of downtown. Flat12 itself will be named as another new sponsor.
» MORE: Soccer has struggled historically in Indy. See our roundup of teams that folded.
Wilt doesn’t know at present how involved he will be on the impending radio show, though he notes that he has “some color commentary and such, some broadcast experience” on ESPN’s affiliate in Milwaukee. “We have so many experts,” he says. “It’ll be great for [head coach] Juergen Sommer to have a weekly opportunity to talk to the fans, and to give them some insight on what went right or didn’t go right the previous week.”
At the press conference, Rakestraw described himself as “a soccer nerd,” visibly excited to present the new program to 1070’s Central Indiana audience. (Full disclosure: ESPN 1070 and IM are both owned by Emmis Communications.)
— Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9) March 11, 2014
Kristian Nicht hails from Germany and is one of the squad’s goalkeepers. “I really start to like [Indianapolis],” he says. “Even in the time I’ve been in the States, I haven’t been here much. Spring training was in Arizona and Florida. It was a good camp. Always good to sleep in your own bed, and now you really have time to see Indianapolis. The weather’s getting nice.” He pauses, skips a beat. “Seeing events like this, we’ll have the best fans in the league.”
Indy Eleven will kick-start its season on April 12 against the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Carolina RailHawks. The team’s home matches will be played at Carroll Stadium on the downtown IUPUI campus.
» BONUS: See our Q&A with Peter Wilt from the July 2013 issue.