Orlando Seeking Alternate MLS Stadium Plan After Florida Denies Public Funding
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City Soccer Club Owner & President Phil Rawlins are "frantically searching for a Plan B” in their efforts to build a $110M soccer stadium after the Florida Legislature last week failed to vote on a measure to provide state funding for stadium construction, according to Schlueb & Damron of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has said that she “wants to look at reducing the cost” of the proposed stadium, aimed at securing an MLS team in Orlando. Dyer said that it “might be possible to pare down the stadium's price tag.” But Schlueb & Damron note if there is “too much cost-cutting, the facility could lose suites, video advertising boards and other features that would generate money needed to operate the venue.” Jacobs also has “raised the possibility" of using an estimated $10-20M in projected revenue from naming rights to help pay for construction. But Rawlins “insisted that future naming-rights revenues should go to the team and not be part of the capital-financing plan.” Dyer, responding to the notion that Orlando could follow a model similar to the MLS Earthquakes' privately-financed $60M stadium currently under construction, said that he is “not willing to sacrifice quality.” He added, “We want to do a decent-quality stadium, not a cut-rate stadium. We started building quality buildings here, with the Amway Center and the performing-arts center. San Jose is kind of like a high-school stadium." Dyer said that he and Rawlins have “discussed the possibility" of the team increasing its $30M contribution (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/8).