Orlando City Soccer Club still seeking stadium money, everywhere but own pockets

Amid all the talk about poor billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and how he’s not getting his public stadium subsidy this year, let’s not forget about the Orlando City Soccer Club, which also lost its expected windfall of state cash when the Florida house didn’t pass a stadium funding bill last week. Nonetheless, both Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City president Phil Rawlins insist that a stadium will be built, and it’ll be awesome, and no, they have no idea how it’ll be paid for.

The best part of this story, really, is the screengrab of the Fox 35 report with the caption “Bringing Soccer to Orlando: Where Will Money Come From?” You really couldn’t ask for a better example of how the media help set up stadium deals as a fait accompli, where the question isn’t whether to build, but rather how to pay for what must be built. Let’s all say a quiet thanks to Fox 35, for providing an image that we’ll be able to link to for years, every time we want to shake our heads sadly about how news outlets are complicit in stadium shakedowns.

But anyway, sure, let’s try to answer the question: Where will the money come from? Let’s see, how about … the soccer team that’s going to be getting the revenues from the stadium? If soccer in Orlando is such a great idea, they can pay for their own building, right? Like, maybe with naming rights fees, for starters?

[Orange County Mayor Teresa] Jacobs also has raised the possibility of using an estimated $10 million to $20 million in projected revenue from naming rights — the money a corporation would pay to slap its name on the venue — to help pay for construction.

But Rawlins insisted that future naming-rights revenues should go to the team and not be part of the capital-financing plan, even in light of the lost state funding.

“I don’t think those two issues are connected,” Rawlins said.

Right, of course money paid for the name of a new stadium couldn’t possibly have anything to do with how to pay for building the stadium. Don’t know what we were thinking.

8 comments on “Orlando City Soccer Club still seeking stadium money, everywhere but own pockets

  1. Take it from an Orlando resident: nobody in Central Florida, outside of the team’s 8,000-odd followers on twitter, gives a toss about the MLS coming to town.

    It truly is hilarious what they’re doing in order to push this stadium through. Granted, it won’t be as raw a deal as the one we got for the Scamway Center, but you’d think people around here would have a clue.

    Would be oh-so fitting if Full Sail University ended up with the naming rights.

  2. “But Rawlins insisted that future naming-rights revenues should go to the team and not be part of the capital-financing plan, even in light of the lost state funding.”

    That would be City Council president Rawlins. Once again we have someone who should be looking out for taxpayers instead negotiating on behalf of those with their hand out.


  3. Rawlins is president of the Orlando City soccer club, not the Orlando city council. This would be a lot less confusing if soccer teams actually had nicknames like normal sports teams.

  4. They’re planning to spend $175 million on renovating the Citrus Bowl. It’s badly needed. Why not just improve it for both football and soccer, or is that too radical an idea?

  5. Kei: In addition to nobody giving a toss about MLS coming to town is the likelihood that MLS isn’t coming to town.

    I’m pretty sure that the Manchester City FC owners ponying up for the 20th MLS franchise (and 2nd in NYC area) is almost a done deal. Moreover, the league has made statements that 20 teams is a pretty good number to have for a while (La Liga, Serie A, EPL are all at 20 teams… not that that means MLS has to stop there or that MLS is even analogous to those leagues (it’s not) but it is a popular number for the top leagues (again which MLS isn’t one of))… where was I?

    Oh yeah… MLS isn’t putting a team in Orlando any time soon*. Nor is it putting one in Atlanta or Minneapolis.

    (*Caveat: If the price for NYC2FC is really $100M and Garber has two more suckers on the line with that money in hand, then I reserve the right to revisit my claims).

  6. Xander, this is Garber in the NTY last year: “While we do not have plans to expand beyond 20 teams at this time, based on the size of the U.S. and Canada we could grow beyond 20 clubs at some point in the future.”

    Certainly he doesn’t rule out more teams because it would be stupid to publicly state “We’re done at 20” but those comments are consistent with other comments he’s made suggesting the league is going to stick at the 20 team mark for a while. Again, if you come up with $100M, you probably change the conversation.

  7. Xander’s comment has been deleted for violating the “no personal attacks” rule, but he’s been invited to repost a no-attacks version, if he so chooses.