MLS Expansion: New Investor In Orlando?

MLS Expansion: New Investor In Orlando?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 18, 2013
  • MLS Expansion, Orlando Expansion

If you would ask some of the head honchos at Major League Soccer as to what were two things holding the league back from adding Orlando to the league, they would likely say that money and a stadium.

Well, it appears that folks in Orlando could be getting closer to a MLS dream today as the club has a new investor with some serious deep pockets. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Orlando City has a new investor, Brazilian businessman Flávio Augusto da Silva. Orlando City Lions president Phil Rawlins confirmed that Augusto da Silva has been a new part of the ownership team in Orlando.

What does this all mean? Apparently the club will have the funs to not only bid for a MLS team in the near future but also secure enough money to build a new stadium.

At $30 million, the team’s portion of the stadium bill would be substantial, as well. On top of the construction cost, the Lions also would be expected to pay a franchise fee to join MLS. The amount is negotiated, but a source familiar with the talks estimated it at $50 million — putting the Lions’ admission costs at around $80 million.

That’s why, from the perspective of the team’s ownership, it was critical to bring Augusto da Silva into the mix.

City officials are moving fast on getting the funds allocated to build a new stadium for the Orlando club. Negotiations are under way between team executives and officials from Orlando and Orange County over building a new $105 million stadium for the team. Taxpayers would pay most of the tab for the 18,000-seat facility.

Rawlins is hoping to get a stadium near the city center, similar to what the NBA team did in 2010 when the city finished building the Amway Center.

Nothing is set in stone yet on the stadium front but having a new finical backer in their corner certain helps the Orlando City hopes of becoming a MLS club soon.