With a New Soccer Stadium Proposed Will the City 'Keep City in the City?'

By Ken Storey

It now looks like the next major professional sports league to move into Orlando will be Major League Soccer with the Orlando City Lions moving up as a MLS team.  Right now the Orlando City Lions use the Citrus Bowl but this stadium is built for football with higher bottom level bleachers, no roof, and well over three times the amount of seats desired.  Supposedly to get MLS the Orlando City Lions need to get a soccer specific stadium, with about 20,000 seats, is needed.  This would cost about $100,000million to build but would gaining such a major league team would have an estimated $1.2 billion economic impact over 30 years for the region.  Much of this impact would happen directly around as fans, estimated at 687,500 per year, do what fans do; dine, shop, and spend money before and after the games.

The discussion on where to put the stadium is the main focus now and the Orange County Convention Center is seeming to be ahead in the race to gain the stadium.  In a recent reader poll here on TheDailyCity shows that at least our readers think that the Lions need to stay somewhere on the Citrus Bowl property.  With the large amounts of grass parking and large cheap land nearby this does seem like a great option.  Also having a soccer stadium directly beside the football and baseball fields at the Citrus Bowl now would help make this into a sports complex.  (I laid out a very detailed history of this property and my ideas for it here.) 

The next most popular spot in our poll is the 436/Semeron Blvd area.   By placing the stadium there it would allow the budding district there have a central iconic item to rally around.  The district is also easy to access and does offer some large empty buildings/plazas and some empty lots where the stadium could easily fit.

Even so like I said right now it looks like the tourist district may finally get a stadium, something that has been proposed for the district even before the Magic ever came to town.  This would mean the city of Orlando would be missing out on many of guest and taxes from these games and other stadium events.  This concern for ruining the good thing going downtown has generated quite the buzz over at the UrbanPlanet message board.   There the question was asked why there isn't a proposal for an organized campaign to keep the soccer team in the city and the 'Keep City in the City' tagline was proposed.  

After the poll that shows most of you think it should stay in the city maybe some type of campaign will now begin to keep one of the great things about Orlando actually in Orlando.  So now the ball is in the city's court, will they 'Keep City in the City?'  We'll make sure to keep you up on whatever happens with this new stadium.

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