Thursday, June 20, 2013

Orlando City MLS Announcement Soon?

During an interview Thursday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer dropped a bombshell saying he expects to have a soccer stadium deal in place in the next few weeks and Orlando City to be granted a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise before the end of the summer.

The interview was on the "Open Mike" show on "740 The Game" with Orlando Sentinel sports columnist Mike Bianchi where Mayor Dyer was asked several questions about the status of MLS coming to Orlando. 

Listen to the complete interview for yourself here, but below are the highlight quotes from the three minute exchange.

Bianchi asked, "the question that everyone is talking about now is what is the future of MLS in Orlando? Are we going to get a franchise? Is the soccer specific stadium going to get built?"

Dyer's response was concise, "it's going to happen (Mike) and we'll add a second major league sport to our city's offerings. It's the world's most popular sport married with the world's most popular tourist destination."

Bianchi followed up with the logical question, "when do you think it (MLS) will happen?"

The Mayor's response was, "we're still in discussions with the (Orange) County, that's the last piece that needs to fall into place regarding some funding. I would anticipate that if we can get that done in the next few weeks you could see a franchise awarded during the summer time."

I don't think anyone in Orlando, the country, or perhaps the known universe expected to hear Orlando City could join MLS in a matter of a couple of months.

Our article on Wednesday offered a detailed timeline for Orlando City right through playing their first match in a new soccer specific stadium in the summer of 2015. Even with the most optimistic sources, we were still hearing November or December was the earliest that an MLS expansion deal would be announced.

Then again, it could be another example of "Buddy being Buddy" where Mayor Dyer pushes a topic to the front of the paper and the top of the newscasts for the sake of the public's attention. Honestly, Dyer is a master of the art of publicity; the Amway Center, Citrus Bowl renovations, and Performing Arts Center are all prime examples of his work. 

The bottom line is that Orlando City is moving forward quickly with their MLS expansion plans on multiple fronts; we will do our best to keep up with all the latest news and rumors.

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