Sunday, June 2, 2013

Orlando City Stadium Fast-Tracked

On Friday, Orlando City Soccer Club president Phil Rawlins sent out a tweet to followers stating that Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs wanted to "fast-track" the county's funding approval process. 

We obtained a copy of the memo from Jacobs to Rawlins detailing the county's plan for moving forward with the stadium funding request; you can read the memo for yourself at the end of this post.

If you remember our stadium update article from a few weeks ago we reported that Jacobs was "warming" to the idea of providing Tourism Development Taxes (TDT), towards the project. The initial funding plan for the stadium had pegged $25M in TDT funds from the county towards the $105M project cost. After state funding fell through in Tallahassee last month the team has spent the last several weeks revising their cost estimates and determining an additional funding stream to make-up for the $30M loss. Our understanding is that the  stadium will be in the $90M-$95M price range and that the balance of the funds will be covered privately by the team owners with cost overruns also covered by the club.

Why the sudden about-face from the Mayor Jacobs on the stadium project? Jacobs has requested more private funding from the club since the beginning, the revised stadium funding plan may have provided her just that. She has asked that the county to "fast-track" their due diligence and for team officials to present their plan to major players in the tourism industry in Orlando. Jacobs goes on to say that once all of those items are completed that the Tourism Development Council (TDC) will meet to either approve or deny the request for future TDT funding. It is important to point out that the mention of "future funding" likely means the county will contribute a fixed amount of money each year over several years versus a lump sum upfront.

So the $25M question is how long will all of this take? Jacobs stated that it may be a bit premature to schedule the stadium funding for a vote during the next TDC meeting on June 21st. However, she did go out of her way to state she would call an emergency meeting of the TDC to vote on the proposal when it was available. With the next scheduled meeting after June being in late September it seems a vote would come in July or August. The team had previously stated their goal of having a fully approved stadium funding plan in place by July; that appears to still be a strong possibility.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Orlando City Soccer Club



16 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I think this is going to take far too long to actually help. With Beckham being wined and dined in Miami we are about to get left in the cold.

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    1. The MLS wants 2 Southeast teams, it might actually help for Beckham to get a Miami team, since that would push the league to add the second Southeast team, Orlando (as has been said all over by the league, they are the front runner). It also seems that the only way that a team will be placed in Miami is if Beckham owns it, as the league seems to want to have nothing to do with Miami after the Fusion folded and seeing the resentment towards new stadiums after the Marlins left the city feeling cheated.

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    2. The second southeast team would be Atlanta. Blank and MLS have been talking for a while and now that Atlanta's stadium deal is done, Orlando better get a stadium deal this year or else they'll be left out in the cold.

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  3. Boys, we sure better hurry. We are quickly running out of time.

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  4. I agree, got a bad feeling that Orlando is going to be left behind... for "doing it the right way." Is there even a team in Miami? Sounds like this is going to be another NY2 situation...

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  5. Do you think Phil knows something we don't about buying Chivas USA? I mean with this new sense of urgency it could be one of two things. Either he is trying to buy Chivas, or he is worried about Beckham in Miami. What do you think?

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    1. We did an article back in March about Chivas USA relocating to Orlando (http://www.scoringthird.com/2013/03/chivas-usa-moving-to-orlando.html). Personally I do see Chivas relocating, but not to Orlando, probably San Diego or Sacramento. MLS is wants rivals in close proximity, it's good for the game. With the Galaxy playing in Carson (south of LA), a Chivas move to San Diego would still mean a two hour drive between teams.

      I'm not sure why everyone is worked up about Beckham and Miami. MLS will add two teams in the Southeast, the choices at this point are Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta. I don't see MLS putting two expansion teams in football stadiums (Miami and Atlanta) when a SSS and established fan base would exist in Orlando. Relax people. If you want to do something, contact Orange County representatives and ask them to support the team's TDT funding request for the stadium (Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Phone: 407.836.7370, Email: mayor@ocfl.net)

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    2. I've heard of some suggesting of moving Chivas to San Antonio, though there is no reason for a fourth Texas team in my mind.

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    3. I just don't see it YET. How could MLS have 3 teams in Texas (Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio), 2 in California (LA and San Jose), and none in Florida?

      One advantage Orlando has over Miami and Atlanta is that they don't have to compete against a MLB team for summertime attendance and media. The Orlando Magic ranked in the top half of the NBA for attendance numbers and averaged a capacity of 93% for home games this past season. The coporate and public support for professional sports is already there, just adding a summer option.

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    4. (I meant to say third instead of fourth) Whenever I have heard talks of Chivas moving to SA, Orlando has been said to get an expansion team directly before that. In fact, whenever I have heard expansion talked about Orlando getting a team seems to come first, then someone else.

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  6. Orlando would be far better than Miami, it just seems unique

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  7. Relax guys...When Garber visited us last year he said he wants to have a team in Orlando AND Miami and bring us both in around the same time.

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  8. So that would be about $25 million from the TDT, plus whatever private funding the club will provide... where's the rest of the money coming from?

    I still believe strongly that the club should front the entire cost of the new stadium (as they apparently have in San Antonio), but I guess that was never an option for the ownership group.

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  9. I can't imagine Beckham will want a team in Miami. He's not stupid. He has to notice their lackluster support for soccer and he knows that the Fusion failed. Look at the Twitter feeds of the Miami MLS supporters. No mention of the USMNT/USWNT games this weekend. No mention of the Strikers v. FC Dallas game (an MLS team in their backyard!) They are not soccer fans, just trend-chasers. It's not like Beckham will be on the field. If he owns a team in Miami, there will be no support (ask the Marlins) and it will fail just like the Fusion.

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  10. I don't even live in FL, but I hope Orlando gets the next team. It just seems like it'll work. The fact that there isn't an NFL or MLB team reminds me a bit of Portland and we see what happened there.

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