One of the most anticipated events of the MLS season will take place on Sunday, when Orlando City SC opens its new stadium.
The new Orlando City Stadium is a significant development for a few reasons. While it represents a major milestone for Orlando City, which spent its first two seasons at Camping World Stadium, the stadium should receive some recognition for its notable design features.
Leading up to its opening, our coverage on Soccer Stadium Digest has focused on a handful of amenities that will be seen at the new stadium. One of the most notable is the safe standing supporters section, which is expected to accommodate close to 4,000 fans. Safe standing sections are emerging as a trend in soccer stadium design, and Orlando City Stadium will be a significant contributor to that development, as it is the first MLS stadium to include that feature.
The safe standing section will be one of the most unique aspects of the soccer-specific stadium, which is set to seat about 25,000 and include several notable technology features. This year, Orlando City is introducing paperless ticketing, which is provided through the Lion Nation app. Once inside Orlando City Stadium, fans should be very easily connected, as the facility will include 583 wireless access points.
Orlando City Stadium also has the potential to meet expectations when it comes to premium seating. The stadium will offer 31 suites, along with the Audi Sport Club, which will come with a full-service bar and its own food offerings.
While the modern amenities are something that helps to characterize Orlando City Stadium, the facility also includes numerous touches to honor the Orlando community. In January, the team unveiled 49-rainbow-colored seats in section 12 as a tribute to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week, the team unveiled a display honoring the history of Parramore, the Orlando neighborhood in which the stadium is located. The unveiling was made by team officials and community leaders.
Orlando City has already been gearing up for this weekend. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was part of a few days’ worth of events that included a preseason game at the stadium on February 25.
That has continued this week, as on Thursday Orlando City staged Kids vs. Pros, an event that included players from Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B. On Saturday, the organization will help fans become familiar with the neighborhood’s offerings by hosting a pub crawl. The event will begin at the stadium, before stopping at various pubs in the area.
That will lead up to the big event, which is Sunday’s match against New York City FC. The game will mark the first regular season contest at Orlando City Stadium, and is set to begin at 5:00 p.m.
Orlando City Stadium is the only soccer-specific stadium that will open in the MLS this year. The league’s other new facility—Mercedes-Benz Stadium—will be shared by Atlanta Untied FC and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
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