Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Orlando group eyes 2015 MLS franchise team
by Paul Kennedy, July 31st, 2013 9:06PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, soccer business, usl


By Paul Kennedy

Flavio Augusto da Silva, the Brazilian owner of Orlando City SC, is confident that Orlando will be announced this fall as MLS's 21st team to begin play in 2015.

The Orlando group headed by Orlando City president Phil Rawlins and da Silva made a presentation Wednesday to MLS owners in Kansas City before the AT&T All-Star Game on the club and Orlando market and the downtown stadium it plans to build.

"I don't see any chance of not starting in 2015," says da Silva, who moved to Orlando in 2009 and bought USL PRO's Orlando City in February.

Orlando City's plans for phase one of its stadium project include the construction of an 18,000-seat stadium but are contingent upon getting approval for funding from Orange County to use a Tourist Development Tax, a not uncommon tax charged in the hospitality industry to fund tourism-related development.

Presentations will be made Tuesday to the Orange County Board of Commissioners and three days later to the Tourist Development Council that is studying the economic impact of an MLS team on the Orlando tourism community. Da Silva's target is for the Orange County Board of Commissioners to vote on the Tourist Development Tax in September.

One of the selling points for an MLS club in Orlando is its status as a destination city for Brazilians.

Da Silva, who says 1.5 million Brazilians come to Florida each year, founded the English-language school for adults, Wise Up, with more than 400 schools across Brazil. As the Brazilian economy exploded in the 1990s and multinational companies entered the market, one of the gaps that Wise Up helped fill was the lack of English-speakers in the Brazilian work force.

"Only three percent of the entire population speaks English," says da Silva.

Da Silva left Brazil with his family and moved in 2009 to Orlando, where he became immersed in the local soccer community as a soccer dad.

"I love Brazil," he says, "but when you become a successful businessman, it starts to get a little dangerous so I decided to move my family."

Da Silva commissioned a study of four potential markets in which to start an MLS club -- Orlando, Atlanta, Miami and Minneapolis -- and he settled on his adopted hometown, where Orlando City has been the most successful team in USL PRO since Rawlins moved the Austin Aztex to Orlando in 2011.

"When I met Phil," says da Silva, "I had no doubt Orlando would be the place for us."

He cites strong USL PRO attendance for Orlando City at its current home, the Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando City's Development Academy program with more than 2,000 players and the club's strong support for the city of Orlando as some of Orlando's strengths.

Orlando has often been mentioned as an franchise candidate in tandem with Miami, where David Beckham has been exploring the market in his bid to determine where to exercise the expansion option he acquired from MLS when he joined the LA Galaxy in 2007.

"In my opinion," says da Silva, "we are not paired with Miami. We are paired with New York City [which will begin play in 2015]. We believe we are going to get into MLS in 2015. And Miami, if it comes in, will come in 2016."

Da Silva says the plan is to begin work on the downtown soccer stadium in 2014 and for it to open in the second half of Orlando's first MLS season in 2015.

The cost for the first phase of the stadium (including land acquisition) is estimated at $85 million, of which Orlando City would contribute $30 million and $20 million would come from Tourist Development Tax revenues. Orlando City will pay for any cost overruns.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced Wednesday night at halftime of the All-Star Game that the league's board of governors approved plans to expand from 20 to 24 teams by 2020.
----------------------------
Soccer America on Twitter:
Follow Soccer America | Paul Kennedy | Ridge Mahoney | Mike Woitalla
Google+: Soccer America
Facebook: Soccer America
Soccer Business Insider RSS feed


1 comment
  1. Nate Nelson
    commented on: August 1, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
    English football has been warned it has allowed one of its major clubs to be exploited as a "branding vehicle" by an international regime accused of human rights abuses after a trial in Abu Dhabi, a country ruled by Manchester City's owner and his brothers, was widely denounced as repressive, involving torture, and "fundamentally unfair". MLS must not care about but New Yorker's will not support NYC.FC or any team/group that rejects human rights!


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer Business Insider
Top 10 soccer television stories of the year    
It is almost impossible to go a day without finding live soccer somewhere on television. Most ...
U.S. Soccer renews Nike deal through 2022    
Nike, a U.S. Soccer partner since 1995, will be providing men's and women's national team uniforms ...
Mizuno cleats hit U.S. market     
Mizuno, the century-old Japanese company that entered the U.S. market in 1961 and has specialized in ...
Signs of progress on D.C. stadium plans    
The proposal for the D.C. United stadium to be built in Washington's Buzzard Point neighborhood could ...
Miami 'giddy' about soccer, New York? Not so much    
Miami-Dade County commissioners have demonstrated their support for soccer. Just what that gets David Beckham and ...
NYCFC eyes Bronx stadium site; Miami Beckham United gets on agenda    
It will take an Edwin Moses-type to cleanly clear all the hurdles that lie ahead for ...
MLS Cup viewers on UniMas surpass those on ESPN    
Saturday's MLS Cup drew the fewest English-language viewers on record, so few in fact that the ...
Team Beckham eyes Miami stadium site by the bay    
You can't say David Beckham doesn't think big.
FIFA-adidas partnership extended through 2030    
The World Cup and adidas are synonymous, their relationship going back to the 1970 World Cup ...
The MLS boom, in numbers    
For those of us who have covered soccer going all the way back to the days ...
>> Soccer Business Insider Archives