Orlando City Soccer Push To MLS Shows Favorable Economic Impact Numbers

Filed under: Orlando City Soccer,Orlando News |


Orlando City Soccer’s dream of becoming the 20th team in Major League Soccer took a major turn upwards yesterday afternoon as the results of an Economic Impact presentation were made public.

The independent report carried out by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, a Minneapolis-based research firm, showed that a soccer franchise would benefit the Orlando community to the tune of some $42.4 million in gross direct spending annually for a total of $1,271 billion over 30 years.

Much of this depends on one central issue however, and the critical factor is just how quickly Orlando City Soccer can be housed in their own soccer specific stadium. While the MLS has indicated they would be OK with the Citrus Bowl being a short term fix, they wouldn’t be prepared to grant that key 20th MLS spot to Orlando until the stadium plans are finalized.

The stadium, estimated to cost $96 million to build, would be built to MLS standards including approximately 20,000 seats, 25 suites and 1,000 club seats. A site for the stadium has yet to be identified, but the team would prefer to keep the stadium near downtown Orlando, if possible, according to team executives.

According to the study, the new stadium could create 890 temporary construction jobs and the local economy would benefit to the tune of $68.7 million in construction costs. Further, the stadium would host 20 MLS games, seven neutral site soccer games, five concerts and 15 other events such as high school matches and total attendance per year could reach 687,500.

The timetable for the future stadium is still undetermined but the powers that be at Major League Soccer are still moving forward with their plans. Currently the MLS has 19 franchises but none are located in the south eastern region of the United States. That leaves room for expansion and Orlando wants to be at the front of the line as the league looks to add at least two more franchises (one of those will be in New York) in the next few years.

One of the more interesting facts to emerge from the report was the impact of attendance figures when transitioning from the USL league that Orlando currently plays in and has won the last two years, to the MLS. The report showed that the four teams to have done it in recent times, Montreal, Portland, Vancouver and Seattle have all averaged a 325% attendance increase. Orlando City Soccer currently averages around 7,000 at their games and if they were to do the same they would see a massive crowd gain of just over 20,000 per game. That would mean a full stadium and that would surely please the MLS?

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and bring you regular reports as things progress but it’s not impossible to think that in two to three years that Orlando City Soccer could be an MLS team. We certainly hope so. Orlando needs a second major sporting franchise.




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