Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Backs Orlando Citys MLS Aspirations
“We have a window of opportunity”
Orlando City SC representatives attended the Orlando Business Journal Meet the Mayors event on Friday morning at the Sheraton Orlando Downtown hotel, with the mayors from five different cities giving their perspectives on what 2013 can possibly bring to the Central Florida area in terms of economic and business development.
The focus of conversation, however, was quickly shifted to Orlando City and their Major League Soccer (MLS) aspirations.
The first question asked by the moderator was on the potential soccer stadium in downtown and their thoughts on a MLS franchise in Orlando.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer responded first, saying “MLS is looking to expand in the near future. Orlando is in the lead, currently, to land a franchise in the Southeastern United States. But there are other vital options, including Atlanta, Miami and even Tampa. So we have a window of opportunity and I think it would mean a great deal to the city of Orlando to have a second major league franchise, especially soccer.”
On Monday, the club reinforced their commitment to bring a MLS franchise to Orlando by introducing new Orlando City Owner Flavio Augusto da Silva to local members of the press. His multi-million dollar investment will will be used for the club’s share of a private/publicly funded multi-purpose soccer stadium in downtown Orlando and future acquisition of an MLS franchise. The club is committing over 50% of the total funds needed to secure a franchise in Orlando.
Dyer continued in his comments by saying there is already a solid framework in place, with the USL PRO franchise entering its third year of operation. “Orlando City has been in existence for two years and have done everything right. They won their league championships, they are involved in youth soccer and philanthropic opportunities along with being in different chambers around Orlando. They have done all the right things.”
The mayor finished his comments with what he believes Orlando City can eventually become, a global brand.
“The notion of creating a MLS team here would be to establish a beachhead for South American soccer fans and make Orlando the mecca of tourism for soccer. That is the most exciting aspect for me.”