Tuesday, Orlando City SC President & Founder Phil Rawlins revealed renderings for Orlando’s new natural grass, downtown MLS stadium. The proposed stadium boasts capacity of 19,500 with the infrastructure for future expansion.
Roof canopies cover all seats to the front row on the east, west and north ends to protect fans from rain and sun. The stadium offers several VIP hospitality areas, including a midfield Club Lounge with views of the playing field, up to 38 luxury suites and an elevated balcony-style bar within the scoreboard structure. The supporters section has an open-air ‘pub-style’ area on top of an elevated concourse behind the seating section supporter members.
“This is yet another great step in our journey to Major League Soccer,” said Orlando City President Phil Rawlins. “We are developing a venue that will make soccer fans proud. We set out not just to build a stadium, but to push the envelope on design ideas and concepts.”
The new stadium is scheduled to open prior to the 2016 MLS season and will be located on Church Street, in Orlando’s expanding sports and entertainment district in the Parramore neighborhood. The stadium is designed by Populous, an architecture firm that has designed MLS and international soccer stadiums such as Sporting Park, BBVA Compass Stadium and Wembley Stadium.
Funding for the stadium has been secured from the Club, State of Florida, City of Orlando, Orange County, Seminole County and Osceola County. The stadium will be owned and operated by the City of Orlando via Orlando Venues, the same entity that owns and operates the Amway Center and Orlando Citrus Bowl.
During construction, Orlando City will play its inaugural MLS season in 2015 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, which is currently undergoing $200 million in renovations. The Lions spent the previous three seasons at the Citrus Bowl.
Orlando City SC will begin play in MLS in 2015, becoming the League’s 21st club. The Lions’ first team has won two USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships and will continue play in USL PRO in 2014 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL.
June 4, USL PRO announced that the USL PRO franchise rights owned by Orlando City SC have been transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2015 season. The newly-named Louisville City FC franchise will be owned and operated by a group of investors led by architect Wayne Estopinal, with Orlando City also retaining an ownership share. The ownership group is finalizing an agreement to play at Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats.