Today, The (Manchester) Guardian posted an article analyzing Orlando’s chances of getting a Major League Soccer franchise, potentially ahead of the second New York City franchise currently in the works.
- The writer, Leander Schaerlaeckens, quips that two major league franchises for each sport in the NYC metro area is “an unwritten rule”. MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche says it will “build on the momentum” of Red Bull New York.
- The actual process, as Schaerlaeckens reckons, is that MLS is trying to find a stadium location for NYC2 before they solidify the owner situation. Courtemanche says “that leaves the door open for other markets”.
- He mentions Phil Rawlins, who first invested in Stoke in 2000. Rawlins says Orlando has a “very young, eclectic population” with a “perfect soccer demographic”.
- Orlando native and MLS player Dax McCarty adds some thoughts, mentioning the previous failure of Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion. He thinks Orlando City has the business model behind it to succeed at the MLS level.
- Schaerlaeckens mentions Orlando City’s success in USL Pro, which he correctly identifies as third-division. We are drawing 7,116 per match this season on his calculations (through Antigua, 6/9), which he recognizes as “a whopping number for a minor-league team”.
- He mentions Garber’s visit to Orlando, and him saying “not if, but when”. Rawlins says his biggest motivation behind the effort is growing the game in America.
- Schaerlaechens says the only real hurdle for Orlando is the stadium situation…something Rawlins thinks Orlando City will have settled in the next 18 months. He is currently targetting the 2015-2016 timeframe for Orlando to make it to MLS.
- Expansion will slow down now, but it will not stop at 20. Whether Orlando or NYC2 is next will likely not exclude the other.
Interesting note. I wish I had an idea of what Phil is working on with regard to the stadium situation here.