Best of 2016, #5: Orlando City SC Preps for New Era

Orlando City SC stadium -- July 31, 2015

We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Soccer Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #5: Orlando City SC prepares to move to a new stadium. 

The talk of the soccer world the past year has been focused on Orlando City SC’s new stadium, which is being built in the heart of downtown Orlando. The team closed out its final season at Camping World Stadium with a match against D.C. United on October 23rd. The new stadium will be the home for Orlando City SC, the USL’s Orlando City B (OCB), and the NWSL’s Orlando Pride.

Orlando has a strong fan base, and the team’s home opener against Real Salt Lake on March 6th drew over 60,000, setting the course for a solid year on the attendance front. That popularity should transition over to the new facility as well. As we wrote in September, the team has sold out of season tickets-right at 18,000 tickets.

“This should be an incredibly gratifying accomplishment for our fans because it means they have set a tone for a sold out crowd for every MLS match,” Orlando City SC founder and president Phil Rawlins said in September. “Our fans, partners, and teams can be proud of this milestone as we continue to get closer to finalizing stadium construction.”

While season tickets have sold out, there are still approximately 7,000 game-day tickets available for each match. This includes what is being called “The Wall”. No, this isn’t a Game of Thrones reference. It’s a full, safe-standing supporters’ section at the north end of the stadium and is the first of its kind in an MLS stadium.

Engaging and honoring fans in the community is a big priority for the new stadium from The Wall, to enlisting local artists to paint murals at the new stadium, to installing seats in tribute to the Pulse Nightclub shooting victims. Construction continues on the project, as we wrote about when seats were installed in November. The stadium is expected to open in time for the 2017 MLS season.

Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:

#6: D.C. United Plan New Stadium

#7: Louisville City FC

#8: Tampa Bay Rowdies

#9: Charlotte Pushes for the MLS

#10: St. Louis Makes its Expansion Case

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