Behind the MLS Ambition Rankings: Orlando City SC
How much money has your team spent in the past five years on youth development? How much in the past year?
Orlando City fields Pro Academy squads for U-9 to U-18 age groups. The Pro Academy is fully funded so players do not have to pay any fees or dues to play. Several players have received call-ups to U.S. youth national team camps and games, including Jordan Bender, Joe Gallardo, David Loera and others. The Academy shares our training facility with OCB and the First Team and we recently signed Pierre Da Silva, our first player to go from the Academy to OCB in the USL to the First Team.
How many homegrown players have you signed? How many have played in MLS league games for your first team?
Tommy Redding, Harrison Heath, Tyler Turner and Mason Stajduhar. Tommy is a regular call-up to the U.S. U-20 team and Mason is a very promising young goalkeeper that has been with our first team since 2015 and has played for U.S. youth teams. (per Niki Budalic, general manager)
How many season-ticket holders do you have? How many did you have in 2016?
We capped season tickets at 18,000 in 2016 and used the same cap of 18,000 for this season. (per Chris Gallagher, Senior VP of Sales)
Did your team build its own stadium? If yes, how much money did the team spend on the stadium?
The $155 million cost of Orlando City Stadium is 100% privately funded.
How would you describe your investment in and use of data analytics? How many full-time analytics employees do you have?
We have one full-time performance (video) analyst who supports the first team and manages statistics. We are currently reviewing the feasibility of additional investment in data analytics. (per Dennis Sprenkle, Director of Human Resources)
Local TV deal: How many of your games this season are shown on local television? How big is your budget for presenting local TV broadcasts? Do your broadcasters travel on the road for local TV broadcasts?
All games that are not nationally televised are broadcast locally on TV 27 WRDQ. All our local broadcasts are produced in HD by a production company that handles some of the biggest soccer events in the US. It’s a first-class production. Broadcast sometimes travel for local broadcasts, but not every game (per Rob Parker, VP of Corporate Partnerships)
How many front-office employees does your team have? How many have you added or subtracted in the past year?
There are currently 84 full-time front office employees plus an additional 44 employees who work in the soccer operations department, split among the 3 teams. We have added staff to support the Stadium, Orlando Pride and OCB. (per Sprenkle)
What other sorts of details should we know about your club that are a good barometer of the club’s ambition?
The Club moved to Orlando in 2011 and quickly won the heart of the city of Orlando. Overwhelming success on and off the pitch propelled City to MLS in 2015 and the Club consistently had the second-highest attendance in MLS at over 30,000. In 2016, the Club launched Orlando Pride in the NWSL and Orlando City B in the USL. The Club committed to privately financing its 25,500-seat downtown stadium, which will open in March 2017. Orlando City already has a fully functioning U.S. Soccer Development Academy, showing its commitment to winning and growing the game of soccer in Orlando.
Orlando City is also incredibly involved in the community. The Orlando City Foundation works with youth in underserved communities and the homeless. After the June 12, 2016 massacre at Pulse nightclub, the Lions led the charge in uniting the community with the design and sale of #OrlandoUnited T-shirts, the proceeds of which (over $390,000) all went to the OneOrlando Fund. The Lions hosted the #OrlandoUnited game on June 18 and, for the first time in history, the match was paused in the 49th minute in honor of the 49 victims.
The Orlando City brand is known around the world, largely thanks to the popularity of Kaka, but also because of the incredible fan support in the city. Orlando City matches are televised live in over 140 countries. According to Forbes, Orlando City has the fifth-most Facebook likes and third-most followers on Twitter and Instagram in the league. The Club's merchandise sales are also among the top four in the league. Orlando City was also ranked the ninth-most valuable club in the Americas by Forbes Mexico in March.