We are the future of soccer, an unstoppable city, the world’s vacation destination and the home of history-making moments. We are Orlando.
In 2014, The Boston Globe recognized downtown Orlando’s resident “Wall Street” as one of the best places in the U.S. to watch the FIFA World Cup, the only city in the Southeast to make the list. And this was before we even had an MLS team.
In 2015, a capacity crowd of 62,510 fans “filled the bowl” to watch Orlando City’s inaugural MLS match inside of Camping World Stadium.
Today, games are held inside of a brand new, state-of-the-art soccer stadium in downtown Orlando. And while it may not hold 62,510 fans, the energy inside feels as if it does. Season ticket holders are everyone’s best friend. The streets and bars fill with a sea of purple on game day–regardless of whether it’s at home or away. We bleed purple for our Lions.
Youthful, international, connected, innovative, and unstoppable, Orlando reflects the future of soccer. Looking to our trends in youth participation, Orlando’s passion for soccer will continue to grow exponentially. Local youth soccer league organizers are predicting their youth participation to double within the next five years.
Soccer is growing, especially among younger fans who have never known an America without MLS. There is market research that supports American soccer is driven by Millennials and post-Millennials who, when compared to Baby Boomers, are more passionate about soccer. The Millennials generation is 92 million strong, more diverse than any other before it, values experiences over things, is choosing Orlando as its hometown, and is entering its prime spending years.
Step inside our stadium on match day. Head to a bar on match day. Just walk outside and try to not spot a neighbor in purple on match day. In Orlando, a market ranked 1st for job growth, 2nd fastest-growing city and 3rd for Millennial growth, the future of soccer is everywhere. And it, like our city, is unstoppable.
From Copa America Centenario, NBA All-Star Weekend, NFL Pro Bowl, WrestleMania, NCAA tournaments, MLS All-Star Week and beyond, Orlando has perfected the game plan of hosting epic events.
Nearly 75 million visitors from around the world will flow seamlessly into Orlando this year. Our two international airports will serve over 48 million foreign and domestic passengers. On any given night, over 200,000 hotel rooms, timeshares and vacation rental homes are available. Continued investments in our sports and entertainment venues fuse with year-round weather to secure our status as a rare city capable of hosting any event, any time of the year.
And while our stadiums, fields, event venues, infrastructure and climate support the world’s most influential sporting events, it is everything else about Orlando that creates unrivaled fan experiences.
Seven of the 10 most popular theme parks in the world thrill and entertain here. A short drive away, Daytona International Speedway satisfies the need for speed, while 400 miles of beautiful, natural coastline invite you to slow down and enjoy every moment.
Regardless of what brings the world to Orlando, they stay, play and return because of what it provides: hospitality, revelry and memories.
Hosting is in our DNA. We are the only Florida city that has an MLS team AND has hosted the FIFA World Cup.
FIFA World Cup (1994), Olympic Soccer matches, Copa America Centenario, NBA All-Star Weekend, NFL Pro Bowl, WrestleMania, Call of Duty World Championship, MLS All-Star Week… pick a sport and chances are that we’ve not only hosted it, but also set a new standard in its fan experience. After the 1994 matches, the United Nations referenced Orlando as a role model for hosting the FIFA World Cup.
Hosting is a common thread that connects our community: government officials, centers of transportation, visitors’ bureaus, corporate partners, theme parks, media outlets, marketing and event planners, a vast array of hospitality providers and an extensive network of volunteers. This rare, calibrated synergy powers the infrastructure that magnetizes the world to Orlando year-round for global events and lifetime memories.
No other city in the Southeast can deliver fan experiences from arrival to departure to memories that last a lifetime like Orlando. Our legacy as one of the world’s best host cities and our future as a place growing soccer’s tomorrow are United.