Orange County approves funding for Orlando City downtown soccer stadium
Orlando is one step closer to its MLS dream.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted in favor of the approval of funds for a new multi-purpose, downtown soccer stadium for Orlando City SC, who currently play in the USL PRO. The vote was widely seen as the final obstacle to Orlando City's path to Major League Soccer.
Per a release from the club, with the funding plan now complete, Orlando City executives will now enter into final negotiations with Major League Soccer to bring a franchise to Orlando.
The vote approved the use of Tourist Development Tax funds for multiple venues, including a soccer stadium. The City of Orlando unanimously approved the funding on October 7, completing the financial structure of the proposed soccer stadium.
Club officials have stated that with stadium funding approved, they hope to have a franchise awarded in the next few months, but MLS has yet to make a statement on timing of any such deal.
“We thank the Orange County and City of Orlando Board of Commissioners for their support to build a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando,” MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said in a statement. “We also would like to thank [owners] Flavio Augusto da Silva, Phil Rawlins and their staff for their passion and commitment to bring a Major League Soccer team to Orlando.
"We look forward to working with the Orlando City SC ownership group to finalize an expansion agreement.”