Orlando City Soccer Club won a big victory on Tuesday when the Orange County Commission signed off on using $20 million to build a soccer stadium for Major League Soccer in downtown Orlando, but the team is still $3 million short of their goal of $85 million needed to build the stadium.
In their presentations, the team has listed $5 million of the stadium money as coming from "other sources." Seminole County recently agreed to $2 million in funding, leaving the team with just $3 million more to raise. Team President Phil Rawlins is confident they will get there.
"We feel very confident about the funding plan, pretty much everything is in place. We've been working with a number of communities and also the state as well."
The state and city of Orlando are chipping in $220,000 as part of a jobs incentive program called QTI. The team will add 45 front office jobs when they move to the MLS in 2015. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is also confident the team will get the rest.
"Osceola County is probably going to participate, maybe Apopka, but we'll figure out that last 3 million."
The team pitched soccer to Osceola County earlier this year, but has not formally asked that county for a dollar amount. The team has also been in lengthy negotiations with Apopka. For Seminole County's $2 million, the team has promised to bring extra hotel bookings to that county through either training sessions, youth tournaments, or both. Orlando City President Phil Rawlins says any deal with other municipalities in the region would be similar.
"Heads in beds, visitation, visiting teams, international teams. All of that will have an impact across the region, and we'll talk to each of them about the contribution and the impact that it has on them."
What if the other cities say no to soccer? We asked Mayor Dyer if the team could come back to the city for the final money?
"We'll figure that out for sure," he replied.
The team hopes to have all the money in place by the time the MLS announces the team as an expansion franchise in the next few weeks.