One of MLS’ newest clubs, Orlando City SC, broke ground on its new downtown stadium last night that will be home for the Lions beginning in 2016. The evening began first with a simulation of what an actual matchday would be like. Thousands of fans clad in purple marched to the beat of drums to their club’s new home site on Church street in downtown Orlando.
A ceremonial dig took place following the march, featuring 24 tons of distinct purple sand and shovels painted with club themes and motifs, as well as club majority owner Flávio Agosto da Silva, club founder and president Phil Rawlins, MLS president Mark Abbott, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, and Orand County mayor Teresa Jacobs. Rawlins said in an address to ceremony attendees,
Today marks more than a mere stadium groundbreaking, it marks the beginning of a new era for the community, our fans and our team. We are immensely proud to be a part of such a transformational project, which will bring world class soccer to the ‘Soccer Capital of the South,’ along with economic opportunity and jobs. This stadium will set the cornerstone for development in the Parramore community, and we look forward to contributing to this area’s growth well into the future.
The stadium is set to be constructed, and was designed by Populous, Barton Malow, and ICON Venue Group, who are known for their previous work that includes Wembley Stadium, 02 Arena and Yankee Stadium. The new grounds are estimated to cost around $115 million, and will be funded via a mix of private and public investment.
Mayor Jacobs added,
Bringing Major League Soccer to Orlando is a huge win for our entire community, and will positively impact our local economy and families, as well as international visitors. With the exploding popularity of soccer among Central Florida’s youth and adults, and with soccer ranking as the number one international sport, this new outdoor public stadium will be treasured by soccer-loving fans from home and abroad!