Orlando City Ready for Full Season at Citrus Bowl
The renovated Citrus Bowl will host Orlando City for the entirety of its inaugural MLS season.
The new franchise had originally hoped its new downtown stadium would be ready for play before the 2015 season was complete, but officials now say the facility will not be finished until 2016.
“What’s really precipitated this is the time it’s taken for the city to really full acquire all the land,” Orlando City Soccer president Phil Rawlins told WESH-TV.
“Which means we have had to push back when we can break ground on the stadium. So rather than rush things and try to get in for the last couple of games of the season, we decided it was a better strategy for everybody.”
The Citrus Bowl, which originally opened in 1936, is currently undergoing a $200 million renovation to modernize the lower bowl and add suites, restrooms, and concession stands. It has a listed capacity of over 65,000, though it is not known how many of those seats will be available during MLS matches.
The new stadium is expected to hold 20,000.
Port Miami Site More Expensive
The David Beckham-led ownership group behind bring MLS to Miami says its preferred site would cost significantly more than others under consideration.
The total cost could be around $250 million at PortMiami, as opposed to a project in the $200 million range if they chose to build elsewhere.
The plan is to build a 25,000-seat, open-air stadium. Investors have informed Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez they believe they can afford to finance the facility privately.
The additional cost of the project would include $50 million to elevate the stadium from ground level, as the port’s Dodge Island is considered a flood zone.
The team would also need to build a public plaza near the stadium while also relocating parking and a daycare center for the nearby Royal Caribbean Cruises headquarters. These costs would not be incurred at three other sites the ownership group has examined.
By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin