Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer have announced that, due to the overwhelming market response to Lions’ matches at home, the Club will increase capacity in the new stadium to accommodate between 25,000-28,000 fans, and will provide additional enhanced amenities for a ‘premium’ fan experience.
In addition, the Club announced it will privately fund the entire downtown stadium construction, allowing the project to move forward immediately with an expected completion date of summer 2016.
The City of Orlando has agreed to sell the property in Parramore, designated as the site for the Downtown Soccer Stadium, to Orlando City SC, and the Club has agreed to develop the stadium. Orlando City SC will become the sole owners and operators of the venue.
Orlando City SC Majority Owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva, commented:
Orlando is an incredible market for professional soccer and attendance at our matches clearly demonstrates that demand. Before deciding to invest in Orlando City, I researched several markets around the country for professional soccer but Orlando became the ideal location because of the fan base and the city’s leadership. I believe in Mayor Dyer’s vision for the future of this great city, which is why we are investing even more into this project today. I am very excited for the future and very grateful for the wonderful partnership with Mayor Dyer and the City of Orlando.
Mayor Dyer added:
Strong partnerships are the foundation of Central Florida’s success and today’s announcement with Orlando City is another win for our entire community. A new soccer stadium in Downtown Orlando brings significant economic impact not just to Orlando but the entire region. Another benefit for our City is, a privately-owned stadium will generate property taxes that we can reinvest in our Parramore and Downtown neighbourhoods.
Club President & Founder, Phil Rawlins, said:
We have repeatedly called Orlando the ‘Soccer Capital of the South’ and our fans continue to strengthen that reputation each and every week. The incredible response from our fans and partners has led us to pursue a larger facility with enhanced amenities. We didn’t come here to be average, we came here to continually defy expectations and our vision for the new stadium will rank us among the top three clubs in MLS.
Importantly, we remain committed to our neighbours in Parramore and our significant investment further validates that commitment. The new stadium will contribute to the economic growth of Parramore during construction and in its operation, and will be a point of pride for residents and fans alike.
Through its first seven home games, nearly 250,000 fans have attended Lions’ matches at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, including over 52,000 from outside the state of Florida – which is roughly the equivalent of a major college bowl game every five weeks. These out-of-state fans inject new money to the local economy by staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, shopping in stores and purchasing services.
Fans of Orlando City SC have travelled from 49 different states and 64 different countries to see the Lions play in person. In its inaugural season, the Club has the second highest average attendance in MLS, drawing 37,400 per game. Excluding the inaugural match, which drew 62,510 people, the Lions still average 30,300 per match.
Other hospitality and fan amenities include a range of VIP hospitality areas, a midfield Club Lounge with views of the playing field, up to 38 luxury suites and an elevated 360-degree balcony-style bar within the scoreboard structure.
The stadium’s location – one block from the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center – will allow for synergy between the two facilities and increased activity in the surrounding area.