The Orange County Commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of public funding for Orlando City Soccer Club’s stadium Tuesday evening. It was the final vote required to secure the allocation of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) necessary. Supporters filled the Orange County Administration Building, voicing their support for hours prior to the vote being taken.
It was also one of the last major hurdles in the club’s jump to Major League Soccer and become the league’s twentieth franchise.
The last hurdle? An official decision and announcement by Major League Soccer.
MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott commented on the progress made by Orlando City Soccer Club,
We thank the Orange County and City of Orlando Board of Commissioners for their support to build a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando.
We also would like to thank Flavio Augusto da Silva, Phil Rawlins and their staff for their passion and commitment to bring a Major League Soccer team to Orlando. We look forward to working with the Orlando City SC ownership group to finalize an expansion agreement.
The entire push for public funding by Orlando City has been centered around the positive economic impact a first division professional soccer club would have on the Orlando and Orange County economy.
Although no official statement has been made by MLS, Orlando City reports that an expansion announcement could come as soon as November and the club would join the league in 2015 alongside New York City FC for their inaugural seasons. The stadium will not be completed for the start of the 2015 season.
The new stadium is expected to seat 18,000-23,000 supporters in downtown Orlando. The construction is expected to create 890 jobs and an additional 250 following its completion. The total cost is expected to be $80 million as part of a public-private partnership with both Orange County and the city of Orlando providing 50% ($20 million each); the club will provide the remaining $40 million.
Based on recent franchise fees and the market, Orlando City is estimating the franchise fee to be $70 million that will be paid for privately.
The total project cost is estimated to be $150 million before overruns.
The study from CS&L commissioned by Orlando City Soccer Club determined the economic impact of bringing a MLS franchise to the city to be $1.2 billion over 30 years.