Orlando Owner Sees 2015-16 Timeframe

Orlando Owner Sees 2015-16 Timeframe

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 20, 2012
  • MLS Expansion, New York Expansion, Orlando Expansion

MLS expansion to Orlando could be coming soon. (Photo via Orlando City Soccer

MLS expansion talk is always a hot button issue. Earlier today Leander Schaerlaeckens of The Guardian had this very interesting look at the 20th club race between New York and Orlando.

While I still see the Big Apple getting club number 20 – team 21 does seem to be Orlando’s to lose. The real interesting nugget was the timeframe that Orlando City owner Phil Rawlins suggests a stadium will be ready in time for a MLS team to move in.

Ownership, market potential and stadium standards have to be met to join MLS. And Rawlins has fostered an environment that has Orlando on pace for all of them. “Orlando has all of those things,” said Courtemanche. “It’s a market that we certainly believe could be a good Major League Soccer team.”

The team has grown understandably confident of its chances. “The league is very committed to the 20th franchise being in New York,” said Rawlins. “I can’t say we’ll get in ahead of New York. But I can say if things in New York don’t happen in the time that they would like we’re ready to take their place. We’re ready now. We’ve run ourselves as a mini-MLS club. We’ve got the staff and setup and we’re ready to go.”

After 18 months of talks with MLS, the only remaining hurdle for Orlando to clear is the comprehensive stadium plan and financing, the very one keeping a second New York team from spawning. But whereas New York remains a question mark, Rawlins predicts he’ll have checked that box in another 18 months. “We’re top of the list for a new franchise and that will cement that we’ll get it,” he said. “I think we’re looking 2015, 2016 as a timeframe.”

I could be wrong but this is the first instance of any timeframe mention for Orlando. Obviously it isn’t coming from Don Garber or MLS but seeing that Orlando is targeting this time for a push to MLS sounds good to me.

Naturally the next question has to be asked, can Orlando jump New York? Schaerlaeckens article was mostly about that and while Orlando has the momentum at the moment you know MLS and Garber had a big dream to land that coveted second team in New York.

I don’t see a jump in the order here I do believe we’re inching towards firm dates all around on these two potential MLS clubs. That is positive to see/hear.

  • MLS awarding Orlando the 20th spot will be the greatest thing since
    Opening Day at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Jack

    What do you think about San Antonio’s NASL team? They are averaging 9,459 per game not counting the US Open Cup, with their lowest fan total being about 7000 with the Spurs on TV playing OKC. They have a stadium being built with plans for expansion. Their TV market doesn’t overlap with Houston or Dallas. Their biggest issue is perhaps ownership. IF they stay anywhere near 8,000 fans this year, they will be the next Orlando-ish rising team.

    • Down the road, yes I do see SA as a good candidate for expansion. They have a solid stadium plan in place too that would certainly help their cause. If they can continue their gate numbers and probably pull in a few more investors while they’re at it, I’m sure MLS will come calling. Team 22 perhaps?