Deal reached on Orlando City’s proposed soccer-specific stadium

NewOrlandoCityOwner (VinceMaduri)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Orlando City’s dream of playing in MLS is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Central Florida’s top two mayors have agreed to a deal that could see Orlando City get the final $20 million they need in order to build a soccer-specific stadium, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday. The deal was agreed to on Thursday by mayors Buddy Dyer and Teresa Jacobs and is part of a larger package of upgrades for the city of Orlando.

“We’re supportive of this approach,” Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer’s spokeswoman Heather Fagan told the Orlando Sentinel. “We think this is a win-win-win for all the partners involved.”

City and county staff now have to work out details of the plan during the next several weeks before bringing it to both sets of county commissioners for review, public hearings and final votes. However, the soccer stadium will only be constructed if Orlando City is awarded an MLS expansion franchise.

While the deal does not guarantee that Orlando City will be able to build the downtown stadium it has been pursuing for months, much less join MLS, Dyer and Jacobs reaching an agreement is another sign of progress for the USL PRO club that has been adamant about joining North America’s top flight during the past two years.

Recently, Orlando City made an expansion pitch to the MLS Board of Governors during MLS All-Star Week in Kansas City.

The club has publicly stated that it would like to start playing in MLS in 2015, the same year that New York City FC will begin playing.

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What do you make of this development? Think Orlando City to MLS is all but done now? Do you see Orlando having any chance at joining MLS in 2015?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Expansion, USL Pro and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Deal reached on Orlando City’s proposed soccer-specific stadium

  1. TomG says:

    Always skeptical re a Florida pro sports franchise. They never seem to support their teams particularly welll and many pro soccer teams have failed. Why is this going to be different?

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      Maybe because Orlando already averages 8k a game in the USL.

      • TomG says:

        That’s pretty good, thanks. I’m still skeptical, though. We are talking about years and years of Florida not properly supporting anything except college football. You got anything else?

        • AzTeXan says:

          Orlando is not Miami or Tampa.

        • Edwin in LA says:

          I mean even the Rays are not supported….they keep losing players and having a moderate team salary but are still competing for a playoff spot…

          I hope they do well…I hope they grow their fan base by about 3 or 4K before they are even announced as an expansion team…I wouldn’t be surprised if MLS makes them wait until 2016 since the NYCFC team is debuting in 2-15…plusI don’t know if they can complete a stadium in such a short amount of time…another thing is….what kind of stadium are they going to built with 50 or 70 million? BBVA cost like 80 or 90 and that is a toned down SSS with not as many bells and whistles as say Sporting Park or RBA

          • TomG says:

            I heard an Orlando reporter say they project the stadium could be completed mid 2015 or beginning 2016.

            • Edwin in LA says:

              Must be a simple one….they haven’t even reached all the deals needed for it, and we’re into the 3 fourths of the year almost….I suppose they could play some games at Citrus Bowl and go on a month or 2 worth of road games….plus MLS is moving t start earlier every year…won’t be surprised if they start on February 21st or 28th….

    • Colin in MT says:

      Youre right that Florida teams are historically not well supported. I think billionaire ownership and a SSS are a start. As well as a decently supported USL team. I wasn’t aware that the Mutiny didn’t even have an owner/operator and were league owned.

      Anyone who wants to take a trip down memory lane and realize just how far the league has come, take a look at this article from ’02.

      link to m.ussoccer.com

      • TomG says:

        Yeah, it’s crazy. Crossing fingers that the league and the game in the US continues to flourish.

      • Josh D says:

        The league owned a number of teams and owners owned multiple teams. Somewhere there’s a feel good Disney story in there looking at then and new.

      • MLSsnob says:

        You’re talking about two different states essentially, central Florida is different than South Florida. South Florida, which is where I live, won’t go to a pro game unless its the Super Bowl, college national championship game, game 7 of the World Series, or game 7 of the NBA finals and even then we won’t show up until the second quarter and leave with 10 minutes to go in the 4th. Central Florida is different and should have no problem supporting a team. The magic always do OK.

        • Münster says:

          Probably because there’s more stuff to do there. Wonder why Green Bay and Oklahoma City support their teams? BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING ELSE THERE. :D

        • TomG says:

          Thanks for the info, snob. I see Orlando is right I’m the middle for NBA attendance which is better than I thought. I’m less skeptical now.

  2. Old School says:

    Orlando City should consider relocating to NY/NJ and rebrand themselves as a 3rd or 4th NYC club.

    You don’t need a stadium to join MLS if you are in NY.

  3. sirMIXXalot says:

    So Miami was shut down due to attendence? Why hasn’t this happened to current teams? I’m all for relocations.

    • Vic says:

      Miami was shut down because the owner stopped paying MLS dues. He was a millionaire amongst billionaire owners. At the time their were league owned teams that were losing a lot of money and owners needed to contribute to the league for those losses.

    • Mysterious J says:

      I think the league and owners are too addicted to franchises fees at this point to allow an expansion target to be taken off the table with a relocation.

      • sirMIXXalot says:

        All I’m saying is the owner should be the teams number one fan. You don’t have to get the high pay players just put quality players in the field. If the owner isn’t doing any of the above (Chivas USA) sell it to someone who will.

  4. bryan says:

    Well, sounds like we have a new MLS team who will field Kaka. Something that has proven to be a pain.

    If it does happen, it’ll be interesting to see who KC turns to for their USL Pro affiliat and who OC work with

  5. Derek says:

    I lived in Tampa, loved the Mutiny games, but hated that they got none of the parking and concession $ and understood when they closed up. Players were passionate, but Orlando City is better in every way. Connected owners walking the tailgate crowds, laughing and juggling with the crowd… All super into it. Fans around the state notice my purple jersey. Supporters groups, youth camps- great connections in place and i was very pleasantly surprised at the leaps and bounds above the fickleness i too saw in Florida. It is partly the ownership’s oassion and approach, and partly the timing and momentum of MLS. Something special going on here in Orlando. Can’t wait, MLS!!!!

  6. JF says:

    they should join NASL. Our D1 should not have more than 20 teams. It looks like it will though. But if they go over 24 then they are a rogue league.

    • beto says:

      the Don has said 24 teams by 2020. Orlando looks like more of a sure thing that anywhere else.. even NYCFC! i say let them in!

      preferably they get a western team going, San Antonio?, to balance it out..11 clubs a side

    • slowleftarm says:

      I agree 24 is not ideal but I’m hoping this is a step towards 40 teams and two divisions of 20 with pro/rel some day. And please spare me the anti-pro/rel arguments, I’m not trying to have that debate.

      • wandmdave says:

        not starting the pro/rel debate but I’d see them moving to two conferences of 20 that only meet in the playoffs and having a supporters shield for each conference instead of doing pro/rel.

      • Bobb says:

        You’re the one who mentioned pro/rel…. yet you don’t want the pro/rel arguments. Why? Because you can’t respond to them with anything other than “But that’s what they do in England!”

        Go back to complaining that certain US citizens aren’t American enough.

    • Stephen J says:

      I believe FIFA will not mind that the league is at 24 clubs, because MLS supports teams in both the U.S. and Canada. Past 24 teams that would be a different story.

  7. LA Riots says:

    +1×100000000000

  8. el paso tx says:

    24 teams by 2020 should be very very very easy to mls. You orlando in for sure, miami with becks is a no brainer. Thats 22 teams, but the question is this, will mls rather move kc to to the west and give 3 new east teams and west only 1, like sacramento or vegas. Or will they go even, 2 new teams in each conference. I think garber should have said, by 2022 we will have 24 or 26 teams and clear picture of what kind of promotion and relegation we will START with. These are my 3 west teams, sacramento, vegas and phoenix (san antonio too late, must work hard on it)
    As for the east, orlando, miami, cosmos (atlanta, gotta move fast)
    By 2026, have a 28 team league with promotion n relegation.

    • matt says:

      Like to see a march to the sea in the southeast. I think a team should be somewhat close to another team. Being from KC I know what it is to travel. There is no short road trip, closest one we have is 7-8 hours. Which is why I really want Nashville to get a team if Atlanta does. Nashville is driveable from both Chicago and Columbus. If St. Louis ever gets a team they would be right smack in the middle of a triangle between, Chi, KC, and Nash,

      Why is it important? Easy. Atmosphere. Road trips increase the intensity, and push the home fans to new levels, or leave them with the bitter taste in their mouths that someone came into their house and made it their own. Or at the very least them with a story to tell.

      • el paso tx says:

        St.louis has to be in mls but so sad no ownership wants in, therefore someway some how, mls needs to brain wash those mlb, nba and nfl owners about joining mls, if not do what nycfc did.
        For those who want only 20 teams, grow up. Mls wil stop at 26 or 28 teams. 30 once mls gets promotion.
        But i repeat, mls can easily handle 26 to 28 teams.
        Maybe nasl can do 20 to 24, but they need to do west and east conferences no matter what but the interesting thing part is, if nasl goes for 20 teams or more, will they keep the single table format and split schedule. If they do, mls has to fix theirs as well.

        • Stephen J says:

          I’m sorry to say but I believe that “24” is the magic we have being wating to hear about for years. At “24” FIFA will not have problem, because MLS supports clubs both in the U.S. and Canada. But no more than “24”. As to St. Louis still may be a chance. The league is looking for commited investors who are willing to built soccer specific stadiums. If MLS has the choice to between an investor with a SSS and an NFL stadium built for soccer, they will pick the SSS everytime. That’s why places like Sacramento, San Antonio and St. Louis if Stan Kroenke builts his proposed stadium at Union Station will be on the radar.

      • MLSsnob says:

        Hmm, I went to college in Nashville, Trevecca Nazarene University, I don’t know if they’d be a me to support an MLS franchise. I don’t think there is a great enough interest in soccer there (yes I know by do well for NT games). Or for that matter an ownership group.

        • CASportsDev says:

          I was curious about the market in Nashville. But that’s why its great to see franchises like Orlando start small and then expand to meet the demand.

          This is also why I support promotion and relegation… if your city wants a top flight pro sports team its up to the community and owners, not the league to decide how high you rise.

    • matt says:

      and as far as conferences go, I think at some point we might see atleast three, maybe four conferences. If it stays 2 then KC and Houston. KC they both have plenty of history with the western LA, Dallas, Colorado, and San Jose.

      fantasy world time

      West:, VAN, SEA, POR, SJ, LA, RSL, COL, SAC, SD

      Central: KC!!!!, DAL, HOU, CHI, CLB, NASH, TOR, MINN,MILW,

      East: NY, NJ, NE, PHI, DC, ATL, MIA, OC, CAR,

      Play your conference home and away, 18 games, and switch home games between every year, Previous years SS winner gets the extra home game vs, the biggest loser(last place SS) of the previous year.

    • Stephen J says:

      You can forgot about expansion past 24 teams. “24” is the magic number we have all been waiting for in reference to the final size of MLS. Also their is a snowball’s chance in hell for the league to add the Cosmos in the future. A third club in NYC doesn’t make any sense, also the Cosmos the went to the NASL for a dinfinte reason. They wouldn’t play by the MLS ownership structure and rules. Forget the Cosmos in MLS.

  9. Stephen J says:

    Somehow I think when they get to 24 teams, that’s it, expansion will end. The MLS wants to maintain some kind of a relationship with FIFA in order to get the World Cup again in 2026. Since the league supports teams both in the US and Canada, FIFA is okay with a maxium of 24 clubs. I believe they don’t want to be put in a position as being labeled a rouge league by world standards.. After expansion their be an effort to build-up the second division with hopes promotion/relgation by sometime in 2030’s. Also they want to work towards a more international schedule and build the academy system. Additional expansion will be the least on their minds once they get to 24 clubs.

    • wandmdave says:

      Does being a rogue league matter?

      • Stephen J says:

        Because to play my FIFA’s rules gives us a chance to host the World Cup again. It also plays into the MLS league of being one of the best leagues in the world by 2022.

  10. MLSsnob says:

    See my name? Notice how it says MLSsnob not THE MLSsnob? Get it right or pay the price!

  11. JosephN Santos says:

    It’s amusingto read some of the comentaries people make obviously without much tought. People need to take in account the geografical size, wealth of this country, and personsable income we hav enoy in this country.If relativeve mall countries in Europre, such as Belgium, Holland and Portugal can sustain top profesional leagues of 16 or 10 teams, why not in America?