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MLS- Expansion

Report: Orlando City to be announced as MLS expansion team on Nov. 19

NewOrlandoCityOwner (VinceMaduri)

By FRANCO PANIZO

It appears Orlando City’s wish of being announced as an MLS expansion team by the end of the year will be granted.

According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, MLS executives are expected to announce that Orlando City will be the league’s 21st franchise on Nov. 19. The announcement is expected to be held in downtown Orlando and there will be an open invitation for Orlando City fans to attend the event and celebrate the festive moment.

The report also claims that a confidential document was sent by team officials to local government officials to inform them that the aforementioned date works for MLS senior officials. Orlando City officials have declined to comment on the event, saying only that the club is in talks to finalize discussions with the league.

If the report is true, the announcement would fall in between the first and second legs of the MLS Conference Finals and on the day that the U.S. Men’s National Team faces Austria in their final match of 2013.

Several Orlando leaders are expected to be in attendance for the event, including Governor Rick Scott and Mayors Buddy Dyer and Terese Jacobs. MLS is also expected to be represented, though there is no word as to who will be in attendance for the league.

Last month, Orlando City received approval from Orange County commissioners for $20 million in tourist taxes to help fund construction of a soccer-specific stadium. MLS and the club then said they would work quickly to finalize plans to make Orlando City the league’s 21st team, with Orlando City president Phil Rawlins stating he was hopeful of coming to an agreement and making an announcement around Thanksgiving.

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What do you think of MLS reportedly announcing Orlando as an expansion team later this month? Glad to finally see MLS returning to Florida?

Share your thoughts below.

60 comments
  • Danielofthedale

    Very happy for the fans down in Orlando! I hope the day I make a the trip down there to watch a team from Atlanta play them is not to far in the future.

    Like

    • slowleftarm

      Here’s hoping MLS avoids putting a team in an NFL stadium in the worst sports town in America.

      Like

      • Joamiq

        I’m with him on the stadium. I’d love a team in Atlanta, but the notion of playing in the Falcons stadium on turf makes it clear that MLS is an afterthought to Blank, just a way to wring a few more dollars out of his investment. It’s the complete opposite of this Orlando group, who have been committed to soccer from the start and made this happen through sheer force of will. If MLS is smart, they will avoid Atlanta, with this particular ownership group anyway.

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      • indydynamofan

        you are incorrect sir..I just read last month that Mr. Blank is considering a new stadium for the Falcons with the idea to make it soccer friendly ie Seattle..

        I have no doubt that Miami owned by Beckham will be team number 22 and then the last two expansion teams will be a death match between Minnesota Atlanta,San Antonio,San Diego and Phoenix and possibly Sacremento….if MLS follows SAF’s reccomendation of a 30 team league in the US with three regional ten team conferences we will have a hugely succesful league where the travel is not so intense and difficult..that will attract more big name players here to America and of course in time the TV contracts will increase and the fan base will increase with the new team..MLS is in good hands and will be a top three league in the world sooner than we think..IMO..

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      • Love it or leave it

        Why are people constantly saying San Antonio when the dynamo or fc dallas never sell out games ?

        San antonio is a broke @SS city

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      • Alamo City Ultra

        You know nothing about which you speak. San Antonio is a rising city with an average income of 46K and a low cost of living. The Div 2 Scorpions averaged almost 7k this season (on par with recent lower div teams that moved to MLS). San Antonio is primed for the next level.

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      • Dirk McQuigley

        WRONG! Fact, ATL is a crap sports town. Maybe it’s a great college sports town, but’s a mediocre PRO sports town. The Braves should draw much better but they don’t. The Falcons only draw when they are winning. The Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, making them the second NHL team to leave Atlanta. And the Hawks, are the Hawks, and no one cares. And let’s not forget how the Chiefs folded in the NASL despite having a winning team.

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      • Danielofthedale

        Yeah thats just not true. The Falcons have had at least 95% of tickets sold each season but one the last 10 years and that was the season our QB was arrested for dog fighting and our coach quit for another job midseason.

        The Braves have are in the midway in attendance each of the last 10 years and have been over 30,000 each season I believe.

        The Thrashers ownership group was about as bad as Chivas USA’s. They had on playoff season in the franchises history and one winning season. The two best season we drew over 15K/game which was getting close to the league average. Even when we knew the owners had no desire to find a new owner to keep the team in the City and the move to Winnipeg was all be done we still had 13K per game was not the worst draw in the league.

        The Hawks are not a good draw but they have been average at best and were down right awful for most of the 2000’s. The city still has one of the best NBA.

        So while we are not the best sports town we are far from the worst. And in the end everything comes down to demographics and the demographics in Atlanta are good for MLS and will only be getting better. Say a city will support or not support team X based on team Y from another sport is comparing apples to pears, sorta the same but not really.

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      • alocksley

        Not exactly a compelling argument for a new franchise. Especially in light of the NHL’s failures in Atlanta. I just don’t see the rabid soccer fan base to support it. if they do go to Atlanta, it’s a purely TV-based decision.

        Like

      • Danielofthedale

        The Compelling Argument:
        Demographics

        Young Professionals and Millennials are the most important groups for MLS attendance. Atlanta has booming young professional population is routinely been in the top 10 places for young professionals to live and work over the last five to ten years. That means that population will continue to grow and that means more people in the prime season ticket/supporters group demo.

        There is correlation between soccer fans and craft beer consumers. Atlanta is seeing a boom in the craft beer market and a large number of those consumers are also soccer fans.

        Soccer and MLS are properties that skew young. Atlanta is a growth market for those demos.

        Money:

        Atlanta will help increase TV Rights revenue they are the largest market with team if I recall.

        Only New York and Houston have more Fortune 500 companies located there. That gets MLS infront of a very large corporate base and potential sponsorship dollars

        Garber and Blank

        These two guys are not stupid and don’t waste money or take the hits to their egos of a failed team. They would have done plenty of market research to see if this is a worth while venture for both parties.

        If you are not from Atlanta you might not know just how much Blank does for this city. He is highly charitable and does everything first class. The Falcons where a joke of a franchise when bought them. They are now one of the most stable and well run over tenure of his ownership. He is footing the bill for 80% of the stadium and wants to make sure it is soccer friendly with the faux roof.

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      • Joamiq

        Counterpoints (note: I am not an ATL hater, and would generally like a team there):
        “top 10 places for young professionals to live and work” is not the same as “places currently with a high and growing number of young professionals.” Places on those lists often tend to be places where salaries are relatively high compared to cost of living so as to entice young professionals to come – not necessarily because they’re already there.

        The craft beer thing is a huge reach.

        Fortune 500 companies being located somewhere doesn’t mean they will be sponsoring local teams. Particularly if they’re not mass consumer oriented businesses.

        Garber hasn’t signed off yet, so there’s no approval from him to point to. Blank has not proven that he is committed to soccer. The faux roof is nothing (Vancouver has the same thing and frankly I think it looks pretty bad; it’d only be worse in a much bigger new Falcons stadium). If he’s committed to soccer he’ll go grass.

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      • ATL Fan

        I agree the turf is a bummer, but it IS a done deal despite your assertion that “Garber has not signed off”. It’s just a matter of when they announce it.

        And, despite the turf, I will be buying season tickets.

        Like

      • mike

        no team should be allowed to enter MLS without a soccer specific stadium deal in place.

        Like

      • MLSatlanta

        I’ve been preaching this same logic for years and haters still want to compare Atlanta soccer to other sports in the city. The only really failed franchise is Thrashers and that has everything to do with the fact Atlanta never has and never will be a hockey city. Atlanta is, however, a great soccer city.

        Stupid people will continue to not understand this until we get a team and prove them wrong.

        Like

      • Seriously

        The fact that people use a hockey team to say that a soccer team wont do well is laughable. Do they realize that it doesn’t snow here? Little kids don’t play hockey at the local frozen pond around here. I know one person that played some sort of youth hockey, ONE. Soccer is not equivalent to hockey in any way shape or form in this region. People can and do play soccer on a regular basis. Birmingham of all places posted the best viewership numbers IN THE COUNTRY for the last USA v Mexico game (and Birmingham’s pro sports town just so happens to be Atlanta). International friendlies have done well in Atlanta and the Silverbacks are one of the best draws in the NASL. None of these prove a soccer team will work, but to say that the Thrashers failing is somehow tied to an MLS teams fate is simply ridiculous and flies in the face of any rational argument.

        Like

      • Dirk McQuigley

        Saying the city is not the worst is far from a ringing endorsement. You could probably make that claim for about 20-30 different cities, but it doesn’t help your case in the least.

        Like

      • Fly1ngSc0tsman

        I didn’t know Becks planned to play his team in Dolphin Stadium. You couldn’t possibly be talking about any place outside of Miami.

        Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      Now we’re just expanding for expansion’s sake. At this point I’m concerned we’re forgetting the NASL lesson.

      Like

  • beto

    during the US-Austria game? sure, the Scotland game or MLS playoffs might be a better PR time..

    either way, congrats Orlando. well deserved.

    Like

  • Chris

    Has Orlando ever hosted the US men’s or women’s team?

    If so, what stadium and how well was attendance numbers?

    Like

    • Mueller

      Not sure about Orlando, but I believe Jacksonville (about 2 hours away) sold out the Jaguars stadium for the Scotland game.

      Like

    • Weston John

      The USWNT plays Brazil there in 4 days at the Citrus Bowl…15k tix sold so far. USWNT played in the Citrus Bowl 4 times in the 90’s and averaged almost 25k fans. USMNT played there 3 times in the 90’s in the Citrus Bowl and averaged 15k in attendance.I don’t think either team has played in Orlando in the new millenium (2000’s).

      Congrats, Orlando….looking forward to making the trip up when you play against Miami FC.

      Like

      • Reeves' Army

        Three of those matches in the 1990s were part of the 1996 Olympics.

        The last time either team played was 1999, when the US played pre-Marta Brazil in the WWC lead-up. Mia Hamm took the US int’l scoring crown in that match.

        Like

    • 407

      The women are here now, playing a friendly with Brazil Sunday afternoon and an open training session Saturday morning. Word is there’s between 16k and 18k tickets already sold. Event is at the Citrus Bowl.

      Like

  • Mueller

    Exciting news. Orlando and Miami should be great league. Florida will be a big draw for Brazilian DPs. Potentially having Kaka in Orlando and Ronaldinho and/or Robinho would be great for the league.

    Like

  • alocksley

    Orlando makes sense, based on the success of recent additions. They are one of the more popular lower division teams, coming in with a SSS and a good fan base. Miami and Atlanta make me far more nervous. I understand that creating regional rivalries in the pacific Northwest worked well, but those teams all had strong fan bases. Here’s hoping MLS does their research before jumping in on those two.

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      The whole point is the Cascade rivalries didn’t have to be “created,” just elevated. The fanbases and rivalries were already there from A-League/USL, decades of games.

      Like

  • Jersey2Colorado

    Clean up the cartoon 3 lions and make them look a bit more rustic and you got yourself a sick badge.

    Like

    • Tyler

      They’ve already stated that the badge will be changed for intellectual property reasons (ie MLS owns the rights to every logo of each club)

      Like

  • Andy N

    Not trying to be a hater but I’m skeptical of any new sports franchise in Florida. There’s money there for sure but not enough dedicated fans unless it’s for college sports.

    Like

  • byob el paso tx

    Congrats Orlando!!!!!!!! MLS 3.0 is coming.
    So who will be team # 22, 23,24?
    I say
    22=Miami with becks on his circus
    23 and 24 is going to be crazy.
    You have these REALISTIC markets with a real chance= Atlanta, San Antonio, Minneapolis with NFL stadium, Detroit since they have stadium plans every year, Sacramento, Indianapolis.

    Like

    • byob el paso tx

      The interesting part about soccer expansion in the U.S., is that we know what MLS wants since they want 24 teams for now and the southern part of the country, eventually stopping at 26 or 28 teams.
      But what about NASL, they have single table with summer and fall seasons, but the more they expand, a single table will be too expensive for NASL teams.
      Where is NASL going to expand? How many teams does NASL want and need? Will NASL go for west and east conferences like MLS, in order to have a powerful 2nd division.
      Will MLS create their own 2nd division or will MLS help out NASL.
      Will USL PRO go for their 40-60 teams they want as a 3rd division.
      At the end of the day, there is too many markets, and no potential owners but i do see MLS with 28 teams, NASL with 20 teams and USL PRO about 40 teams by 2026 when USA gets the world cup.

      Like

  • Joamiq

    Orlando looks far different from the previous Florida franchises. With dedicated owners doing things the right way, I think this will work.

    Like

  • Ronster

    I live near Bradenton after all the years of Metro Stars/Red Bulls frustration…and I’ll take the hour and half drive up I-75 and I-4 to root for out new MLS franchise!!

    Like

  • Eugene

    So, is this a 2015 expansion team or a 2016 expansion that could potentially be timed to come in with Miami also?

    Like

    • FSUFIJI

      It has been said that OCSC will enter for the 2015 season. Our stadium is projected to be finished by mid-2015 and the first few home games will be back in the CB. Next year we are at teh ESPN/Disney complex (5,200) and it should be sold out for every match with STH

      Like

  • SonicDeathMonkey

    Hmmmmm….6 hour drive from Atlanta to Orlando (or 2 hour flight). I look forward to some away matches in the coming years!

    Like

  • Pingback: Orlando City to be announced as MLS expansion club on Nov. 19 | Soccer By Ives

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