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Orlando City to privately finance soccer-specific stadium

Orlando City Stadium rendering


ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City may have not gotten the final $30 million in state funding for its downtown soccer stadium, but found a way to spearhead its efforts going into the future.

Orlando City announced on Friday that it will privately finance its downtown stadium, and increase the seating capacity to 25-28,000 to accommodate the high demand. The initial plans were to build a 19,500-seat venue that would belong the city, but the expansion MLS club will now own and operate the stadium privately.

“Orlando is an incredible market for professional soccer and attendance at our matches clearly demonstrates that demand,” Orlando City majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a statement. “Before deciding to invest in Orlando City, I researched several markets around the country for professional soccer, but Orlando became the ideal location because of the fan base and the city’s leadership.”

Orlando City is currently playing its inaugural Major League Soccer season at a renovated Citrus Bowl, and are expected to play there until the halfway point of the 2016 season. The club’s decision to add more seats to its soccer-specific stadium comes after the club averaged 37,400 fans in their opening home games.

With the construction cost covered, the City of Orlando will sell the stadium site to the club at a fair market price, according to Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer. The stadium was originally set to cost $110 million, but Rawlins said that the increased seating now moves that figure closer to $130 million.

Naming rights of Orlando City’s downtown stadium was brought up during Friday’s announcement, and da Silva told reporters that talks are still ongoing but nothing concrete has formulated.

“We are prepared to fund the stadium on our own,” said da Silva on naming the stadium. “Of course, we can leverage our revenue in many ways after the stadium is constructed.”

Orlando City has currently 14,000 season ticket holders, and with the stadium now going in a new direction, Rawlins said it may consider reopening season ticket sales to accommodate its already high demand.

“It’s likely,” said Rawlins on the possibility of opening a new phase of season tickets. “We’re going to have to look at that. We haven’t had a chance to dot everything, but it’s certainly one of those things we’ll look that.”

The 43-year-old da Silva also dove into that possibility.

“We have at least 1,000 on the waiting list in a month,” said da Silva. “It shows our city is very confident. We’re going to have a very good pay back in this investment.”

What do you think of Orlando City’s decision to fund its stadium? Is 25-28,000 seats a good range for the club?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Orlando City is currently playing its inaugural Major League Soccer season at a renovated Citrus Bowl, and are expected to play there until the halfway point of the 2016 season.

    So this stadium is going to be ready in only a little over a year? Sounds like a very aggressive timeline to me given that construction has yet to start. Will believe it when I see it.

  2. Really hope they revamp the design and go with something similar to the original renderings (full roof and complete lower bowl). Populous did a great job with Sporting Park but other than the giant rotating lion statue, the current design seems very underwhelming.

  3. Why are we patting a guy on the back who only decided to fund the stadium after the state decided to withdraw its part of the funding? If the legislature didn’t withdraw the 35 million taxpayers would still be paying for part of the stadium.

  4. Also love the way their supporters pissed off Terminus Legion this pre-season. Hilarious.

    Down with MLS Atlanta!
    Up the ‘Backs!

  5. Are you paying attention, revolution,sounders, crew, whitecaps. Word in the street is that your owners are billionaires and have enough money to make you a small or medium size soccer stadium.
    Well, I don’t know about crews new owners but a new soccer stadium in downtown Columbus wouldn’t be bad for their fans, city and national team.
    If LA2, Miami, Orlando can use their money to make their stadium, which are cheaper than MLB and NFL, then what’s the waiting time.
    What’s sad about sounders, let’s say sounders had a fan base like Orlando’s, they would probably be thinking about a soccer stadium now, but since they have a big fan base and high attendance, they can’t move fast and buy land, since Seattle is crowded, they are stuck with their famous clink.
    A 45,000 seater for sounders would be perfect, with capacity up to 50,000 and room for expansion but 45,000 is good enough, given that you want every seat to have a good view and not see ants playing soccer.


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