Orlando City team officials confirmed with me today that the principle owners of the club where in New York City on Friday to brief Major League Soccer (MLS) on the team's new funding plan for the stadium. While they would not confirm who specifically from MLS was at the meeting, Commissioner Don Garber, President Mark Abbott, and Senior Vice President of Marketing Dan Courtemanche were all reported to be in attendance.
Following the failure of the Florida House of Representatives to bring the stadium bill to a vote earlier this month, Orlando City made a statement that the club would present a revised funding plan before the end of May. Although the details have not been presented publicly, the new plan is rumored to have a reduction in overall costs and an increase in private funding to cover the state tax rebates that were not voted on in Tallahassee.
Again, though not official, the new total for stadium construction/land costs is rumored to be $95M; down from previous estimates of $105M-$110M. Additionally, the cost breakdown would see an adjustment to the team's contribution as follows:
$50M - Cash from Orlando City Soccer Club
$20M - Land/Cash from City of Orlando
$25M - Cash from Hotel Taxes from Orange County
The reason the club would be able to raise their initial offering from $30M to $50M is likely tied to the naming rights of the proposed stadium. Recent naming rights deals in MLS have garnered between $1.5M-$2M per year for 10 to 15 years depending on the location. Previous discussions on the stadium have centered around the club retaining the funds from any naming rights deal. While the possibility exists of the club's owners putting up additional cash out of pocket, they are still on the hook for an additional $40M-$50M for the franchise fee which would push the total investment from the club itself to around $100M.
Late today we received word that Orlando City officials had briefed Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs on the new funding plan and that she was rumored to be much more receptive, likely due to the increase in private funds from the team.
For some perspective, BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston was constructed for a cost of $95M which included the land acquisition and has a seating capacity of around 24,000. While Orlando City's stadium will be revised to fit the new budget the overall capacity is likely to remain between 18,000 and 19,000 and will still be constructed in Parramore on city-owned land.