Orlando soccer fans now know what their new MLS team’s stadium will look like.
Orlando City SC president and founder Phil Rawlins, the city’s mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs on Tuesday unveiled renderings of the approximately 19,500-capacity stadium in downtown Orlando that will feature a 360-degree lower bowl built below ground level with a unique three-stand upper bowl with a natural-grass playing surface.
“This is yet another great step in our journey to Major League Soccer,” Rawlins said in a club statement. “We are developing a venue that will make soccer fans proud. We set out not just to build a stadium, but to push the envelope on design ideas and concepts. We took some of the best ideas from around the world and incorporated them into a venue which reflects our home in Florida.”
- Check out more stadium renderings at OrlandoCitySC.com
The stadium is expected to open for the 2016 MLS season. Orlando City, which will join the league in 2015, will play their inaugural season in the Orlando Citrus Bowl, which is currently undergoing more than $200 million in renovations.
The new venue, designed by Populous, a firm that has designed a range of MLS and international soccer stadiums such as Sporting Park, BBVA Compass Stadium and Wembley Stadium, will also feature roof canopies that cover front-row seats on the east, west and north ends that are designed to “enhance and amplify” the crowd noise in addition to offering protection from the elements.
"This will be the loudest stadium in Major League Soccer, without a shadow of a doubt," Rawlins said at the unveiling press conference.
A fan plaza on the south end leading into the Church Street Sports and Entertainment Corridor is meant to serve as a common gathering area for fans during events.
The stadium’s underground infrastructure also allows for future seating expansion in the corners.
Other amenities include luxury boxes, lounge areas with views of the field, a single-deck supporters section with an open-air “pub-style” area on an elevated concourse for use only by supporter-section members and a full-size lion statue on a rotating base.
Rawlins emphasised the stadium's standing-room areas, saying they were modeled after the Yellow Wall at Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion, the largest free-standing grandstand in Europe.
"It will be the first MLS stadium with safe standing room," he said. "No seats! That's based on the wall at Dortmund."
Fans are still being encouraged to send their stadium design ideas to email@example.com or via Twitter using #NewOCSCStadium. The club will then select a group of respondents to participate in future small-group workshops with the stadium design team and will release a compilation of fan ideas collected in the coming weeks.