NASL side Orlando City SC take their first major step towards MLS status.
A deal was struck on Thursday that will allow for the construction of a brand new $85m purpose built football stadium in Orlando.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs outlined the framework for the deal in a letter addressed to county commissioners and will make the announcement official on Friday, following review by tourism leaders.
“We’re supportive of this approach,” Dyer’s spokeswoman Heather Fagan told the Orlando Sentinel. “We think this is a win-win-win for all the partners involved.”
In the next few weeks city and county staff will finalise the details of the plan, before it is sent to both sets of commissioners for review, public hearings for debate, followed by final voting.
Dyer had been pushing for this stadium for a long time – the main issue was convincing Jacobs. As the stadium would rely heavily upon funds from the county’s tourist tax, a huge source of income, Jacobs would need to be convinced of the touristic benefits of an MLS team.
The promise of an MLS team was crucial in the plan itself. $20m of the stadium’s pledge hinges upon Orlando securing Major League status.
Team owners John Bonner and Phil Rawlins will pay the entirety of the MLS’ $70m franchise fee, along with a $30m contribution towards the stadium. The remaining $55m will come through a combination of city and county funding, with the details still to be discussed.