Commentary

Soccer and the arts at odds in Orlando

By Paul Kennedy

Plans for a soccer stadium in Orlando necessary to attract an MLS franchise have hit a snag as Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs plans to inject $25 million in future tourist taxes into the construction of a second phase of a performing-arts center.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the initial funding outline for the $110 million soccer stadium includes the same $25 million from future tourist taxes that Jacobs has pledged for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts project. Tourist taxes are typically extra taxes on hotel bookings and are often used for a variety of economic development projects.

Orlando City president Phil Rawlins, who has been spearheading the soccer stadium project, told the Orlando Sentinel that there were many other options that could be considered.

Jacobs said she was not picking the arts over soccer.

"I was not going to be supportive of $25 million for the soccer stadium whether we support [the arts center] or not," she said.

-- The Loudoun County (Va.) Board of Supervisors approved the request to build a privately financed facility in Ashburn that will be the home of the NASL's Cavalry FC and baseball Loudoun Hounds in 2014.

NEW HEINEKEN CAMPAIGN. A new Heineken ad depicting a lucky fan who has won a ticket to the Champions League final but must race the clock to reach London in time for kickoff has been launched.

(Click here to view the ad on YouTube.)

The fan who gets a ticket to the final, to be played at Wembley Stadium May 25, is on the other side of the world and with his wits overcomes every obstacle put in his way to occupy his seat just before kickoff.

The spot is the latest entry in Heineken’s global “Road to The Final” campaign and marks its seventh consecutive year sponsoring the UEFA Champions League.

Heineken has also launched the “Heineken Champions” Facebook and mobile application, which offers U.S. fans a chance to attend a viewing party.

Fans 21 and older can vote until April 15 by taking a photo of themselves enjoying a Champions League match, tagging their location, and uploading it to the Facebook tab or mobile app. Every photo uploaded scores a point for their city, with the city amassing the most points earning a viewing party for the final.

PMI HITS T&T. Michael Hitchcock, Managing Partner of Playbook Management International, is in Trinidad to give a business seminar to executives of Trinidad & Tobago's TT Pro League.

The Business of Professional Football seminar includes a combination of presentations and workshops around the theme of making pro soccer sustainable in Trinidad & Tobago.

"Every league is different," Hitchcock, the former FC Dallas president, told the attendees. "Every team is different, but there is a way to create a model for sustainability.”
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