Orlando City president and co-owner Phil Rawlins has proven to be unafraid of making bold statements, and he just delivered his latest one.
Rawlins met with local TV station FOX 35 News Orlando on Sunday to discuss the soccer-specific stadium that is expected to be built for the Lions in downtown Orlando in the coming months, and began talking about the stadium's anticipated summer 2015 launch. Rawlins stated he anticipated the stadium opener to be sold out, and then added that he believed that would be the case for each and every Orlando City home game.
"I would expect on opening day, we'll have 20,000 people filling the stands here. We'll be at capacity," said Rawlins. "I think we'll be at capacity every week."
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Orlando City have regularly had the highest attendance among non-MLS teams in recent years, and drew a record crowd of 20,886 last September in the USL PRO title game. Drawing those kinds of numbers on a weekly basis will be tougher to do, but Rawlins seems more than confident that his club can achieve that lofty goal.
Awarded MLS's 21st franchise late last year after aggresively pushing for one for years, Orlando City are scheduled to begin playing in the league in 2015 after finishing their final season in USL PRO in 2014. Orlando, which are the current USL PRO champions, will begin their inaugural season playing at the Citrus Bowl before moving a blocks to their new soccer-specific stadium.
Official renderings of the Lions' stadium have not yet been released, but are expected to come out in the near future.