Why Not Orlando?

Why Not Orlando?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 1, 2010
  • 5 Comments
  • MLS Expansion, Orlando

I’ve thought long and hard on Orlando’s chances as a MLS city before. But something this past weekend gave me a reason to think about it a little more. I think the Pro Soccer Classic at Disney World was a hit for both the city and for the MLS teams involved.

Now of course it was preseason action which means it counts for nearly nothing but in the long run this tournament, which should become an annual destination for preseason play could ultimately help the southeastern part of the country get soccer back for good in MLS.

I still believe we are years away from seeing MLS-level soccer in Florida or in the south. Let me just say that from the start here. As much as some would love to see Miami, or even Tampa Bay (man I miss those days)…or even Atlanta or somewhere in North Carolina, the one city that we tend to forget is Orlando.

The market is a decent sports market. The Magic seem well supported and there’s always been talk of adding other professional sports to the city. A MLS team wouldn’t be¬†competing¬†with any other pro-level sport except for late regular and post season Hoops in the NBA. And I’d be willing to think that it could attract some decent talent from overseas due to it being a popular city with foreigners.

Now of course there is no current ownership group in line and the league has never really made Orlando a top choice to expand to and there would be the need for a new stadium to be built. But as Jeff Leadbeater points out it would be a cheaper option than say attracting a MLB club to the city.

Again, it is just a thought. There’s no current talk of anything remotely happening in Orlando that would get them above a Montreal for a MLS expansion slot right now but I’d honestly love to see this city be taken a little more serious if the right pieces fell in line. I know there are a lot of “ifs” in place with this but we’re always looking for a good market for this league and this could be one.

We all mostly agree that MLS needs to eventually go back to the South at some point in the future so why not Orlando?

  • Rufus

    Sure, Orlando could be a good market. There are more things to compare here. I would note that the Disney showcase this past weekend, while decent, didn't have much attendance and is about 25+ miles from Orlando. Its in tourist country, not too many people actually live in that area.

  • Oscar

    Tampa anf South Florida would be a better place to put up an MLS team. the Pro Soccer Classic at Disney Worldis a nice event that I wish they did something like that in FT. Lauderdale/Miami.

  • tstaub

    Dare I say it….

    Too Mickey Mouse

    kidding

    MLS would have to connect deeper with Disney. While I'd be all for it because it'd be a nice reason for road fans to take the family to Disney World, I still want to see a passionate Orlando fan base (I know something of it exists). If they were push Disney (a stretch) or a local millionaire to purchase a USSF-2 team, then make it a staple in the area, then I'd be all for it. Philly, Portland, and Vancouver have set a new precedent of having a strong fan base prior to becoming an MLS side.

  • My understanding is that all 3 former Rhino owners (FD/CE/SD) signed personally on the stadium loan. This would mean that they face personal bankruptcy if that loan is not repaid.

    It's hard to believe someone in that position can fund the investment needed in a new franchise.

    Another reason why it was a right choice to leave the USL. Allowing Donner back into the mix? lol, what a joke of a league. I just can't believe that USSF placed us in the USL div for this season

  • My understanding is that all 3 former Rhino owners (FD/CE/SD) signed personally on the stadium loan. This would mean that they face personal bankruptcy if that loan is not repaid.

    It's hard to believe someone in that position can fund the investment needed in a new franchise.

    Another reason why it was a right choice to leave the USL. Allowing Donner back into the mix? lol, what a joke of a league. I just can't believe that USSF placed us in the USL div for this season