• Orlando MLS could face jeopardy if stadium bill doesn't pass


    The city of Orlando recently made an $8.2 million land purchase in Parramore for what could be the future site of a Major League Soccer stadium.

    Orlando City Soccer President Phil Rawlins is on pins and needles, however. He's concerned Orlando could miss out on Major League Soccer altogether.

    Two million dollars in annual sales tax rebates go to MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams for stadiums.

    Right now, MLS doesn't get a dime, which is why Rawlins wants the public to contact state lawmakers and ask them to pass House Bill No. 219 and Senate Bill No. 306.

    The legislation is amended to include MLS, but it just needs approval.

    "We really want to get this bill moving. It's stalled in the House of Representatives," Rawlins said.

    If it doesn't pass, Orlando could lose a pro soccer team to another city like Atlanta or Nashville.

    The team is expected to put down one-third of the $100 million needed for a stadium, but state funding would certainly help.

    "We just think this is just another one of those bridges. We know our fans can help. We'd urge them to help us get over this bridge," Rawlins said.

    Rawlins said fans should let lawmakers know by email or phone just how passionate they are about the stadium and the impact it would make for the central Florida economy.

    An email has been circulating asking people to call their state lawmakers. As it says, there are only seven days left in the 2013 legislative session in Tallahassee.

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