Orlando City Updates MLS Expansion Plans

Orlando City Updates MLS Expansion Plans

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 14, 2013
  • 0 Comments
  • Features, MLS Expansion, Orlando Expansion

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Originally I told you all back in August that Orlando City would be announced by Major League Soccer as the next MLS expansion city in October. Well, it appears that my initial sources were off by a few weeks.

Orlando City president Phil Rawlins sat down with the Orlando Sun Sentinel to chat about their expansion plans and offered up a more updated timeline.

Once that’s done, a successful outcome would mean we believe within 30 days, certainly by the end of November, we’d hope to have an MLS announcement in Orlando that we’ll be joining Major League Soccer. Our plan is to play in 2015, so that gives about 16 months to get prepared. And first kick for MLS would be March of 2015.

The stadium funding delayed the announcement, so a November timeframe seems about right. Don’t be shocked if at MLS Cup the thing becomes official.

Rawlins also offered up some interesting comments on the regional expansion in MLS that could bring in Miami and Atlanta.

I think a regional rival always helps. We’ve seen that in the Pacific Northwest, the rivalry between the [Seattle] Sounders and [Portland] Timbers and [Vancouver] Whitecaps. It’s great for the sport, it’s great for the fans, it’s great for the economy. Traveling fans and everything else. So we’d love to see a regional rival. Whether that’s Miami or Atlanta, I’m completely open to. There is plenty of room in the Southeast for two teams, so we’d welcome that and I think the fans would welcome that, too, because it’d give them a regional rival to enjoy taking on and enjoy traveling to, as well.

And for most Orlando fans, the talk about how the logo, name and colors will be once the team makes the jump. One thing will change but the other will likely remain the same. Which is good to hear.

The name will stay the same. The logo, however, would change. Not dramatically, we’re not going to go away from Lions and go to Giraffes or something, we’ll still be the Lions, but the logo itself will change because that becomes a trademark, copyright of Major League Soccer. They take responsibility for that and take ownership of it. We’ll take an opportunity to change it, but we’ll still very much be Orlando City, we’ll still very much be the Lions and purple, by the way, will very much be the color. We intend to own that certainly in the U.S. as well as around the world as a brand along with Fiorentina as a brand and color that stands out.

The county vote for their stadium funding is on October 22, once that goes through you can likely expect a flurry of Orlando related news posts to come down about their expansion bid.

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