The Orlando City Soccer team has decided it wants to be a Major League Soccer franchise and is turning to the taxpayers to help them get there. The city and team are trying to work out a deal to build a stadium that would cost between $90 to $110 million dollars. Owner Phil Rawlins said no stadium, no MLS.
"A multi-purpose soccer stadium of about 18 to 20,000 seats with a roof over the fans. That is a prerequisite, an absolute must."
We asked Rawlins why the team could not continue to play in its current home, the Florida Citrus Bowl, especially since the stadium is about to get $175 million in upgrades.
"If you put 15,000 in an 80,000-seat stadium, it really just doesn't work that well," he said.
The city and team does not have a final location for the proposed stadium yet. Rawlins said part of the deal will include the city giving them the land.
"What we do know is that Major League Soccer, for us to get that franchise, insists that we develop in the downtown core. That's a key to their business model."
Mayor Buddy Dyer has long said he would support a bid to bring soccer here. The funding breakdown would look something like this:
$30 million from the team
$30 million from state tax rebates
$25 million from Orange County Tourist Taxes
$20 million from the city of Orlando, likely in a land deal for the stadium
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs sent a statement to FOX 35 which read, "I'm very supportive and excited about the prospect of having a major league soccer team in Orlando. However, I also believe that before committing public funds to a 4th venue, we should carefully evaluate this proposal and weight it against other commitments and priorities."
Since 2007, $1.1 billion has been allocated for the Amway Center, Performing Arts Center, and Citrus Bowl.