Orlando City SC will open their season against fellow expansion side New York City FC on March 8 in front of a national audience. While the Orlando City-NYCFC game kicks off ESPN’s 2015 MLS season coverage, there will potentially be a record-setting amount of fans in attendance. On Friday, Orlando City announced that over 40,000 tickets have been sold for their #FilltheBowl campaign. The bowl they are trying to fill is the Citrus Bowl, where Orlando will play for 2015 season and until their soccer specific stadium is finished.
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It is impressive that Orlando City has been able to sell over 40k for their first MLS game. Their goal is to #FillTheBowl and sell over 60k tickets. This campaign shows that the Orlando City area is passionate about soccer. Yes, their supporters have been passionate since they’ve been a USL team and was one of the reasons they became a MLS expansion side. However, not all people are are supportive and in the game week in and week out like their supporter section.
The team’s front office is excited about the passion and support throughout town.
“Orlando City fans have responded in overwhelming numbers since last Saturday and the milestones continue to fall as we approach the history-making season opener,” said Club President and Founder Phil Rawlins. “Three weeks remain and we are within reach of our goal to #FillTheBowl! Orlando and all of Central Florida have embraced Purple Pride. We are going to show the nation on March 8th why we are the ‘Soccer Capital of the South.’”
It also shows that soccer fever is spreading. After their home opener, Orlando City is going to cap their stadium capacity similar to what the Seattle Sounders do. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how many fans will flock to watch Orlando. In previous years, Orlando fans have shown they were for real, but they are now entering a new league and their success in USL isn’t guaranteed to continue in MLS. Usually when teams struggle on the field, fans, especially the fair weather fans, don’t show up to the games.
Due to the improved competition, the front office has done wonders bringing in high-caliber players like Kaka and MLS veterans like Amobi Okugo and Aurelien Colin to the roster. The potential is high for Orlando City and the future is bright for the “Soccer Capital of the South”. With at least 40k in the Citrus Bowl, the atmosphere will be popping for Orlando’s first MLS regular season game and it will be captured in front of a national audience as long as the league and players agree to a new MLS CBA.