Orlando City Soccer working with city, county to get new stadium



ORLANDO, Fla. - It's hard to believe the city of Orlando would need another venue after the Amway Center and the renovated Citrus Bowl, but WFTV's Christian Bruey learned another stadium could be in the works.

Major league soccer hinted that if Orlando City gets a new 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, it will get a franchise.

The Orlando City Soccer Club has only been in existence for two years, but has already won two regular season titles. And they have had lengthy discussions with Major League Soccer about becoming the league's 20th franchise.

"There's interest in MLS, bringing the Lions to the next level, so we want to explore that opportunity," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Dyer and staff will travel to an MLS game in Kansas City next week and Orlando City ownership hope to do the same with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs in the near future.

"We're obviously working with the city and the county on that solution as well. If we get a 20,000-seat, multi-sport facility that would be primarily soccer, we'd be the main tenant. Then I feel very, very confident that we could bring MLS to Orlando," said Phil Rawlins, Orlando City president.

The Lions have called the Citrus Bowl home for the past two seasons, but even with the highest average attendance in their league it still looks miniscule in the cavernous Citrus Bowl.

Possible locations for a new $100 million stadium include a couple of areas downtown, or in the vacant spots surrounding the convention center.

"As long as we get it in the right location for transport and for transit for our fans to get to and we get the support of the MLS with that location then we'll be good," said Rawlins.

Rawlins told WFTV that he has 2015 circled on his calendar as a target date to have a deal for a new stadium in place.

WFTV was told MLS franchises around the country have reported an annual economic impact of $100 million to $500 million and that is getting the attention of local officials.