Orlando officials announce soccer stadium deal, except for the paying for it part

Stop the presses! Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer have agreed to a plan to build an $85 million soccer stadium in downtown Orlando for the Orlando City Soccer Club. And the details are:

A $94.5 million package also includes spending tourist taxes to complete the $503 million performing-arts center, as well as increased funding for renovation of the Florida Citrus Bowl. And it pumps millions more into marketing for the tourism industry.

Okay, wow, that’s a lot of stuff, how’s it all being paid for?

City and county staff still will have to work out details of the plan during the next several weeks, Jacobs’ memo says, before it’s brought to both sets of commissioners for review, public hearings and final votes.

Right, details not all worked out, so anyway, how’s it being paid for?

Until now, winning Jacobs’ support was crucial because all the projects rely heavily on funding from the county’s lucrative tourist tax. Under the deal, however, the city would likely issue bonds, putting at least some of the borrowing risk on Orlando taxpayers.

Selling bonds, gotcha — and the bonds would be paid off how?

The team owners say they would pay what is now estimated to be a $70 million franchise fee and put $30 million toward the stadium. The rest of the $85 million would come from a mix of city and county funds, though the city’s financing options are still being worked out.

C’mon, seriously? So three months after Jacobs and Dyer said that they want to build a soccer stadium but don’t know how exactly to pay for it, they’re announcing an agreement to … build a soccer stadium, but they don’t know how exactly to pay for it. And the Orlando Sentinel hides this news in the eighteenth paragraph.

The official announcement from Jacobs and Dyer is expected this afternoon. We can always hope that they’ll have some actual new news to share then, but probably best not to hold your breath.

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6 comments on “Orlando officials announce soccer stadium deal, except for the paying for it part

  1. [Awhile back I got confused when you talked about the “Orlando City president”, thinking that was a government position. Now we have a county with a mayor? Central FL is a very confusing place.]

    On one hand, spending any city/county money on a maybe-someday MLS team is undeniably sketchy. OTOH, $55M is chump change in the world of sports welfare. Sadly.

  2. That Garber quote on expanding to 24 teams seems to have been well timed, don’t you think?

    “If you build it we may….nnnnnnmmmmmmmmmuuuhh, or may not, come”

  3. I live in Orlando. Work for the county. I think this article kind of brushes things wrongly.

    First, I’m against county/city taxpayer backed bonds for this venue. I’ve seen several coworkers laid off. I’ve seen other areas needing repair ignored. After the Amway Center, Citrus Bowl, and Performing Arts center mess, we need to refocus our funds. Tell the soccer team to play in the Citrus Bowl or don’t become a MLS franchise. We’re dumping $200 million into it.

    There are currently 3 (that I know of) plans on how to pay for this venue. The fight isn’t necessarily figuring out how to pay for this venue, but which of these plans to use. That will likely be decided in the next few weeks. Of course none of these three plans have been released because a good portion of the bonds will be written against other sources of taxes (Downtown Orlando CRA likely the route they’ll go). That info isn’t being paraded because while it (baring economic collapse) will get paid via tourist taxes, it will likely be secured by the funds that pay for road improvement, fire and police services. That goes against everything the tourist tax stands for (and can be used for).

    At least that’s the way I’ve come to understand it with my research. It is, sadly, the same ways they’ve financed the other three facilities we’ve shoved over a billion dollars into.

    As far as the MLS, Orlando is getting a team, there isn’t any doubt there. That being said, if the league backs off and says no, the stadium won’t be built.

  4. My favorite part about that Sentinel article (I’m assuming you’re referring to this one, Neil http://bit.ly/198u3JS) is that the author banishes the opposition’s take to the very bottom, as if trying to sound impartial about this whole thing. The last paragraph just about sums everything up, and actually sounds ironic, given that the Sentinel themselves had done next to zero reporting on the opposition groups prior to the deal being announced.

    I have to wonder if one of the reasons why Phil Rawlins moved his team from Austin to Orlando was because he saw Dyer’s propensity for dumping big money on sports venues (ie Citrus Bowl and the Scamway Center), and imagined getting a similar handout from him to propel his MLS dreams. He could have gone to Atlanta or Charlotte, or even Miami — all bigger markets than Orlando — but he chose to plop his team here instead. He’s certainly built up a passionate, if not at least slightly deluded, fanbase here, but it’s extremely difficult to believe that he’s doing all this out of his love and dedication to Orlando.

  5. OrlandoResident: this is Buddy Dyer’s world, and we’re just living in it.

    One more thing about this deal… at his stadium presentation, Phil Rawlins again trotted out his “research” claiming it will generate $1.2 billion worth of economic impact over 30 years, and tried to sell the council on the idea that a new ground will lead to a revitalization of the neighborhood around it.

    I’m sure Rawlins is a charming guy, but I have no clue where to begin with either of those assessments. Parramore has been run-down for years, with all efforts to “revitalize” the area only resulting in the developers seeing any of the value-add. Hell, the Scamway Center was supposed to result in a rebirth of Parramore too. What do we have instead? More neighborhood blocks remaining empty and/or being reclaimed by nature. Economic impact, y’all!

    The $1.2 billion figure for a stadium that might be used for 25-30 events per year is outrageous enough to be dismissed outright (well, unless you’re counting OCSC’s reserve matches into the number of events, which who’s gonna travel to Orlando to watch those?) Frankly, the idea that the stadium will be used for up 100 events seems certifiably insane to me. Assuming OCSC plays up to 25 matches per year there, how is the rest of the calendar going to be filled up? All-Star games might take place once every 10-15 years, if we’re lucky.

    Plus, it would have not one, but two venues to compete with for offseason events. Scamway Center, for all its financing warts and welts, has become a haven for concerts and smaller-scale events since it opened (not that they’ve gotten any easier to attend for the man on the street, but hey). The bigger events will remain the domain of the Citrus Bowl, whenever the renovation on that concrete pit is complete. Given all this, how does this new stadium (which I still hope will be named the Full Sail Stadium) fit into the equation?

  6. Eesh, did I leave out the article link? Thanks, Kei, for including that – I just added it to where it was supposed to go.

    And yeah, closing with a kicker of “resistance is futile” is pretty ironic after the rest of that article. Or maybe less ironic than nose-thumbing.

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