SBD/February 19, 2013/Franchises

Orlando City's Newest Owner Banking On Team Entering MLS In The Future

Brazilian entrepreneur Flávio Augusto da Silva “is banking on Major League Soccer in Orlando being closer to reality” with an investment in USL Pro club Orlando City “estimated" to be $70M or $80M or more, according to Brendan Sonnone of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Augusto da Silva yesterday was announced “as part of the Orlando City ownership group.” With a plan “eventually to become the Lions' primary owner, Augusto da Silva represents a major piece in the USL Pro franchise's goal to join MLS.” Orlando City Owner & President Phil Rawlins said, "For Major League Soccer to take us seriously and look at us as a future expansion franchise, there's got to be a solid fiscal base. Flávio brings a big piece of that to the table." Augusto da Silva said that his “exact investment in the club will depend on whether the franchise gets into MLS and on admission and operation fees.” But joining MLS is “far from a done deal for Orlando City.” A major requirement for an MLS franchise is a "soccer-specific stadium," which Orlando City has “worked with the city and Orange County in developing.” Rawlins said that Orlando City would pay $30M of a proposed $110M stadium, and that the team “could know of possible admission into MLS by the end of 2013.” Augusto da Silva, who will “explore other business contacts and investors for Orlando City, said Rawlins will remain as president and in charge of day-to-day operations” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/19).
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