The bill, approved by both the Senate and the House and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, expands the amount of sales-tax rebates shipped back to communities for sporting facilities. Because the Orlando MLS stadium project was already underway, additional money for the new soccer stadium was made available in the legislation; the city will need to submit an application to the state for approval.
The original budget for the stadium was $115 million, but that number was scaled back after an attempt at state funding last year fell short. With the funding restored, architects from Populous are looking at potential stadium improvements, per the Orlando Sentinel:
•The pared-down stadium would have a roof over just the sidelines, but the extra money would allow roofing over at least one end zone.
•The agreement between the city, which will own the stadium, and the soccer team, which is acting as the developer, requires about 18,000 seats. The state funding will likely mean more seats, though exactly how many is unclear….
A bigger, more upscale club area is another possibility, one that could be open to premium-ticket holders on game day, but also open to the public on nongame days — an arrangement similar to that at the rooftop bar at the Amway Center.
The stadium is scheduled to open for the 2016 season. The team will play next season at the Citrus Bowl.