If you have been paying attention to things on Twitter as well as here at O-Town’s 11 lately, you’ll have heard by now that a certain Orlando Sentinel columnist wrote about Orlando not being a soccer town and not being ready to host the Beautiful Game in front of a big, passionate fan base.
Well, since then, that fan base has yelled back.
Orlando City President Phil Rawlins told the Sentinel on Wednesday that the club has sold “just shy” of 7,500 season tickets for the 2015 season. The cap for season tickets will be about 14,000 for next season with the team opening up their Major League Soccer journey at the newly renovated Citrus Bowl.
“We’re over 50-percent of the target within a month, to say it’s a tremendous start is an understatement,” Rawlins told the Sentinel. “It shows the tremendous interest soccer is generating in the community, and it shows the appetite for soccer in the community. Orlando has shown it’s the soccer capital of south with the World Cup television viewing numbers and the ticket sales.”
Season tickets went on sale at the start of the World Cup, with a special World Cup deal that ran through Tuesday night, offering season tickets for as low as $16 per game — talk about a steal.
“What has become most apparent over the past month is that Orlando is the ‘Soccer Capital of the South,’ ” said Rawlins in a team statement on Thursday. “Between the incredible response to our season ticket special to the more than 30,000 fans who attended the Wall Street watch parties, including the 11,000 who were there to welcome Kaká. Add to that the unprecedented viewership numbers for the World Cup in this market and there is no denying the strong passion for professional soccer in the City Beautiful.”
To put those numbers into a better perspective: some MLS teams don’t even sell 7,500 season tickets for a year, and Orlando is still eight months away from actually opening up their season, meaning there is still plenty of time to sell the other half of those tickets, which I expect to happen.
So, I since Orlando isn’t a soccer town, I guess that explains why everybody and their mother is rushing to buy season tickets.