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Orlando all but set as 21st MLS franchise

Oct 23, 2013, 12:15 AM EDT

PST Orlando City

Things keep moving forward for Orlando, who keep aggressively driving efforts at establishing an MLS franchise there. A Tuesday night vote by the Orange County Commission can now be known as the tipping point.

The commission approved funds for a soccer specific stadium in downtown Orlando, voting ‘yes’ on $94.5 million package, which includes $20 million in tourism taxes for a 20,000-seat stadium.

This comes one day after MLS president Mark Abbott said a ‘yes’ vote on the stadium funding would clear the way for Orlando. So, barring unforeseen complications, Major League Soccer is returning to Florida, and Orlando will become the league’s 21st team.

(MLS is at 19 teams today; New York City FC, backed by money from the Premier League’s Manchester City, will be the 20th team.)

So when will it happen? Orlando officials have targeted 2015 all along the same year NYC FC comes aboard. Considering how efficiently the organization has checked off the stops so far, there no reason to think they cannot get there.

Total stadium costs are expected to land around $84 million, not far from what Houston spent for BBVA Compass Stadium, a swell and functional ground, but not one adorned with the bells and whistles of, say, Sporting Park in Kansas City. Total costs for that one ran about $200 million.

  1. hildezero - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    This is very interesting. You hope that the fans show up, which I think they will.

  2. nickp91 - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    A fantastic decision by the city of Orlando

  3. davebrett99 - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    Steve, what are the chances that MLS buys the Chivas USA franchise from Vergara and then sells it to the Orlando investors? The team could play in the Citrus Bowl for one season while the new stadium is being built.

  4. gsalamone99 - Oct 23, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    I don’t get this move. Why does anyone think Orlando will support a team. IMO the MLS needs to stay out of Florida.

    Also I don’t want to be above 20 teams. Focus should be on getting a stadium in Manhattan.

    • pecorasc - Oct 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Reasons people believe Orlando will support a team:
      1- led USL-Pro in attendance and had 20,000 plus show at their final match.
      2- secured funding for a downtown stadium.
      3- progressive ownership group.

      Reason people believe Orlando will not support a team:
      1- Orlando is in Florida and MLS failed in Florida in the past. (This is an argument from antiquity, a logical fallacy).

      Not moving the league beyond 20 teams would be fiscally irresponsible. The size of the US/Canada and the way television contracts are negotiated make it nearly impossible to accomplish the league’s goals without moving beyond 20.

      Focus IS on getting a stadium in Manhattan. Job descriptions delegate who works on what tasks within a company.

  5. hildezero - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    @davebrett99,

    What? That is one of the dumbest comments I’ve seen in PST in awhile…

    • bear06 - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      I wouldn’t be talking if I were you. You make dumb comments all the in PST.

    • bear06 - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      I wouldn’t be talking if I were you. You make dumb comments all the time in PST.

  6. danielofthedale - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Congrats to Orlando! I hope to making the drive from Atlanta down to there for some Southern Derbies in the not to distant future.

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