New owners are always a scary thought for fans of professional sports, no matter how good the opening press conference is or how deep their pockets are. After most of one offseason, it's safe to say the Wilf family's ownership of Orlando City has been a massive success for fans.
Obviously it's been a very short period of time, but the new owners are financially backing the team in a way the previous regime just couldn't. Flavio Augusta da Silva was a great owner for the club and did a fantastic job building a stadium, creating buzz and setting the ground, but he never had the pockets to spend at an elite level. The Wilfs not only can spend big money, so far they have.
Back in the summer, when the Wilfs first took control of the team, rumors of big signings were flying fast, the biggest being a reported bid for River Plate star Julian Alvarez that was only turned down by the player. Alvarez was just signed by Manchester City for around $20 million. Even being close to a deal like that was previously unfathomable.
They followed up that interest with the actual signing of Facundo Torres for almost $8 million, comfortably a club record. The Alvarez rumor and Torres signing broke Orlando City into the South American marketplace in earnest. The club spent around $3 million on Josue Colman, but it was never able to push for the top, top talents on the continent. Now it can.
That move was followed up by bringing in a DP striker from the second-biggest club in Austria who's in his prime. If reports are to be believed, that's not even the last multi-million dollar move of the year. This level of investment is unbelievable and legitimately comparable to the biggest clubs in MLS like Seattle or LAFC. With the technical staff and quality infrastructure already in place, the potential of Orlando City with the Wilfs financial backing is sky-high. We'll see how things shake out long-term or how fan relations develop, but so far, so good for the new era of Orlando City.