By MIKE GRAMAJO
ORLANDO — When Orlando City SC announced earlier this week they officially filled the Citrus Bowl with 60,000 fans, that proved to be only a bluff of what their true potential was.
That potential was achieved on Wednesday during the teams media day when club president Phil Rawlins announced that 2,000 standing-room only seats will be added to accommodate Orlando City’s high demand of tickets for Sunday’s inaugural game vs. New York City FC.
“We’ve been able to work out a deal to add 2,000 more standing-room only tickets,” Rawlins told reporters. “They will be a first come, first serve base. So total capacity for our game on Sunday will be sold-out 62,000. That’s a testament to the interest in the team and our fan support. We’re delighted to have a great fan base and tremendous supporters to witness the event.”
With the Citrus Bowl being capped at 20,000 seats after the home opener, Rawlins also said the club is close to selling out its second game on March 21st when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps.
On the season ticket front, sources have confirmed with SBI that there are only handful of season tickets left before the club reaches its limit of 14,000.
Here are some more notes from Orlando City’s media day:
STARTING XI LOOKING TO TAKE FORM AHEAD OF SUNDAY
Adrian Heath has the depth in his squad leading up to Sunday, and is inching closer to securing its identity on the field.
Colombians Carlos Rivas (shoulder) and Cristian Higuita (groin) actively partook in the teams practice after sustaining knocks during preseason. Higuita, who’s speculated to start alongside Amobi Okugo in the midfield, suffered from a groin injury during the team’s run at the Carolina Challenge Cup. Rivas suffered a shoulder injury, which kept him on the sidelines for nearly the entire preseason.
With several positions already locked for opening day on Sunday, there’s one forward that will not see action against NYCFC. Heath told reporters that striker Marin Paterson, who’s on loan from Huddersfield Town, will not see action this weekend after tweaking his hamstring during practice earlier this week.
Heath has ran with a 4-2-3-1 formation for most of preseason. When asked on who might start alongside Aurelien Collin as the other center back, Heath said that’s still up in the air.
The Orlando City coach hinted that Seb Hines or Sean St. Ledger might get the nod, while also announcing that St. Ledger is still not signed but a deal could be completed later this week.
DISNEY AND ORLANDO CITY ANNOUNCE BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP
The regions hottest sports team is teaming up with one of the world’s largest company.
Orlando City announced on Wednesday they agreed to a multi-year to partner with the Walt Disney World Resort.
“We’ve been in touch with Disney for some time now,” Rawlins told SBI. “It’s something that kicked off by our work down at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. We’re delighted to have such a great partner. It’s something we’ve been working on for several months.”
OCSC played its entire, and final, USL season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in 2014. Orlando City aren’t the only soccer teams Mickey Mouse has partnered with, playing host to Italian powerhouse AS Roma during their winter and summer breaks.
What do you think of Orlando City’s buzz surrounding its home opener? Do you think they’ll be able to sell out games during the regular season? How do you think they’ll do on Sunday vs. NYCFC?
Share your thoughts below.
As a viewer on tv watching a packed 19.5 crowd is better than 22 in a 30k..
Plus as mentioned above slightly shorting he demand is a good thing
Because of the ability for the team ownership to control the revenue streams, including naming rights, concessions, and marketing, while developing a ‘home of their own’.
and fieldturf… don’t forget the fieldturf.
ok…with the citrus bowl capable of allowing full sized soccer field….why is orlando building a sss?
Protip: almost every MLS SSS is built with the ability to expand 5-10K seats in the future. I know Philly is one. Try googling it if you don’t think it will crash your dial up.
I know RBA is expandable…. 28 or 30K I don’t remember
Orlando is making a huge mistake with their new stadium. 20,000 seats is not enough for a crazy soccer market like Orlando and having 14,000 season ticket holders won’t help the stadium the situation.
Expand your stadium now to 25,000 even before you start building the “jungle” for your lions.
Took literally 10 seconds of research.
“It will have a seating capacity of 19,500, with the structural ability to expand to 25,000 in the future.”
I think he’s saying that it’s a mistake not to build the full 25,000 capacity right now. And I agree.
I think it makes sense to have demand significantly outstrip supply for a bit. You don’t want 100% of your fans in the stadium on game day…you want some sitting at bars talking about how badly they wanted to get tickets but couldn’t find them…and asking the bartender to switch the big screen from the random MLB game over to the OCFC game.
The stadium opens in 2016…So I’ll take a complete guess and say we’re seeing an announcement that the expansion will be done for 2020. Four years in the smaller stadium is my guess.
If my back of the matchbook math is correct, MLS will draw about 5% of last year’s total this weekend.
Do you know what the attendance figures at the other games are expected to be?
I hope the demand increases the average attendance to 30,000
Yeah that is the nice thing about a “real” stadium…..sorry, I know people love the smaller ones…..expandable. Seattle will soon be able to draw 70k and probably will this year.
Orlando, 16 games x 20k and 1 at 62k, is already at 22k avg.
The SJ earthquakes might get to that average with their new stadium and the two games at stanford (48,000) and 49ers stadium (maybe 45,000)
Looking forward to see NYCFC and Orlando. Too bad is not Miami V Orlando. Is Higuita related to El Loco Rene GK? Saludos
High of 76 on Sunday for the Orlando match. There’s a good chance that that will be the coolest it will for any game this year.
I hope Orlando wins this game and Kaka scores a hat trick so these 62,000 fans buy more tickets. Is that too much to ask?
I hope they all tell friends and they all start to watch the MLS on TV every week. The attendance numbers are cute but in the real world of professional sports butts in the cheap seats are getting more and more irrelevant all the time.
Agreed. Right now it is all about building the TV ratings for the success of this league
Let’s do both!
Butts in seats is still cash money for the teams/MLS and a full stadium makes for a better TV product.