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Orlando buys $8.2M parcel and unveils soccer stadium plans

Apr 18, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT

PST Orlando City

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has announced that the city has spent $8.2 million on an area of land to give to Orlando City Soccer Club to build a new soccer-specific stadium.

According to the report from WFTV Orlando, the total cost of the proposed stadium will be upwards of $110 million and ground breaking could begin as early as December 2013. The proposed stadium will be located a few blocks from Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, and approximately eight blocks from the Citrus Bowl, where Orlando City currently plays its home matches.

“I can tell you with certainty that is where we would like to construct the stadium,” Dyer said. “That’s the perfect location. We have the parking already associated with the other facilities in the downtown area.”

Despite records indicating that the land was purchased for more than four times its appraised value, Dyer was adamant that the city did not overpay. “It’s all within the appraisals,” said Dyer, who is hoping other commissioners, lawmakers and MLS will agree the site is worth his $8.2 million gamble.

For now the club is set to contribute $80-100 million to build the stadium and the city will provide the land while the county will likely kick in tourist development tax. Dyer is hoping, however, that the state will provide some funding as well. Currently, MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams can all get funding help for new stadiums. The state legislature is expected to decide on whether MLS will qualify for similar funding.

The next franchise that MLS awards will be the league’s 20th team. For years it was believed that franchise would be in New York City but with issues surrounding potential stadium sites in Flushing Meadows and Aqueduct Race Track, places like Miami and Orlando have moved to the front of the line. With Orlando’s land purchase, the city has taken the biggest (and perhaps riskiest) step in making their dream a reality.

Only time will tell when and if Dyer’s gamble pays off.

  1. talgrath - Apr 18, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Why is MLS so set on putting another team in New York when Orlando seems to be chomping at the bit to get one? Orlando City FC is getting six thousand fans on average and they’re USL, a third tier soccer team, the average attendance last year for NYRB was a bit over fourteen thousand and they’re one of Major League Soccer’s more well-known teams. If MLS ignores Orlando City FC’s overtures they are simply insane.

    • Mike Prindiville - Apr 18, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      Couldn’t agree more, and I live in New York. One of the biggest keys to packing MLS stadiums is choosing the medium sized markets where a team can adopt the identity of the city and vice versa. Cities like Orlando, St. Louis, Charlotte, etc.

    • charliej11 - Apr 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      One reason $$$$.

      New York could draw a zero TV rating and have more people watching than Orlando City will get. I am not ripping on Orlando City, I hope they succeed. It is just simple numbers, how many 8 million people in NY ?

      The great thing about MLS is that they should not exclude any city by limiting the league to some artificial 20 teams max. so if Orlando makes sense, it will happen.

      • talgrath - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Except New York already has a team, the New York Red Bulls, they do decent numbers but they are no where near the top teams in terms of numbers that the top teams in the league (in terms of attendance) are at. A second team in New York makes sense, eventually, but why not capitalize on a city that badly wants an MLS franchise?

  2. valiantdraws - Apr 18, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I have a theory that MLS wouldn’t mind seeing RBNY die off. A second NYC club would allow that to happen.

    Anyway, Orlando clearly belongs in the MLS fold.

  3. valiantdraws - Apr 18, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Oh yeah, and NYC is the number one media market in the nation…that too. MLS badly needs TV money.

  4. jpan007 - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    I hope they join MLS soon

  5. crnvic847 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Red Bulls?

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