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SBD/October 28, 2013/Franchises
MLS' Rising Profile In Florida Reflects National Trend As Orlando City Looks To Join League
Published October 28, 2013
THE CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE: The Orlando Sentinel's Mark Schlueb said an MLS team in Orlando can work because "there’s greater awareness of soccer and it’s kind of a generational thing." Schlueb noted of the failed MLS teams in Tampa and Miami, "When the league contracted in 2002, those teams went away, so the popularity was not there about 12 years ago. At that time, if you wanted to watch a soccer game anywhere around the world you had a lot of trouble. Now, there’s all these satellite hook ups and you can just turn on cable and see a soccer game anywhere in the world, pretty much anytime." Schlueb said of the popularity growth of soccer, "A lot of moms are afraid to put their kids in football now because of all the talk of concussions, so you get even more kids into soccer so they grow up with it. They also play the FIFA game sitting on the couch that brings them awareness of teams and players from around the world. Now, they have this global awareness of the sport and that brings them closer to MLS. Orlando City has already built a fan base that’s the highest among a minor league soccer team in the country and they hope that translates into even more fans once they join MLS" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 10/25).