Recently the Orlando City Soccer Club started an exploration into a new stadium for the team and it has all been assured that with the new stadium, the team will be moving up to the highest level of professional soccer in the United States, the Major League Soccer or MLS. I was never a big soccer fan growing up and only used to watch games every four years for the world cup, but over the past two years I have joined an indoor soccer league and I have taken to watching the sport a lot more.
I am not a huge fan of city’s paying for stadiums, such as what happened with the new Amway Center, but I believe that this new stadium would only be a plus for the city. The new stadium would cost $96.5 million, which is far less than what similar stadiums cost and the price would be mainly funded by the club with additional funding coming from the city and the county.
With the addition of another professional sports team in the city, I think Orlando would get greater visibility on a national scale and it would also be a good economic investment for the area. When I think about economic predictions that are associated with ventures like this I am always very skeptical. A new arena such as the Amway Center does not bring any “new” money into the area. The people that fill the arena and spend money there are mostly from the area and their dollars would have most likely gone someplace else in the city for entertainment. With the Orlando City Soccer Club moving to the MLS, I believe the city can capitalize on the massive amount of tourism that our city receives. Soccer is a very popular sport in South American and Europe, and this is precisely where the bulk of the tourists are from. With the addition of an MLS team to the city we could capitalize on our abundance of tourism dollars going to the new pro soccer team.