Good Thursday to you, citizens of The Mane Land.
We're just two days away from the initial showdown with fellow expansioneers New York City FC and we couldn't be more stoked. For those not headed to Charleston, we plan on fully covering the game, which will be streamed live on the Charleston Battery's YouTube channel.
But enough about Saturday. Let's get to your Thursday morning Lion Links:
Show Orlando the Money! (Part 1)
Richard Bilbao of the Orlando Business Journal has crunched the numbers and says the Lions could generate a $4 million economic impact on opening day. With the club's #FillTheBowl campaign already achieving more than 40,000 tickets sold (and our sources say they're quickly approaching 50,000), Bilbao says:
The game, which has already sold more than 40,000 tickets, could generate more than $4 million in economic impact from fan spending that day, based on the average spending of fans at professional sports events. That includes spending at the game, pre- and post-game spending, and any other expenses attendees have such as hotel, transportation and more.
The team has always said it can bring billions of dollars to Orlando over a long career in the MLS, but the real impact can already be felt via the level of excitement and exposure Orlando is receiving as the first game nears.
No doubt about it, whether you're a soccer fan or not, the club is going to be a boon to the city of Orlando.
Show Orlando the Money! (Part 2)
The Florida legislature's Legislative Budget Commission could hold a vote today on whether or not to release funds for several sports-enhancement projects. Orlando City's soccer specific stadium is one of them, along with EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Daytona International Speedway, and Miami's Sun Life Stadium. This Orlando Sentinel editorial says the government agency should make sure the Lions get their share.
This year, lawmakers set a $7 million pool. Problem is the applicants' wish lists total $9 million...Lawmakers want sports projects to draw out-of-staters. The Orlando stadium should attract a robust and loyal base of soccer fans from Brazil and other Latin American nations. Orlando hoteliers won't be the only beneficiary of more heads in beds.
Lawmakers last session "insisted on a process and ranking structure and included funding in the budget specifically for this purpose. It would be appropriate for the [commission] to release the funds in [line] with the rankings," said Gardiner, an Orlando Republican.
Orlando City SC Founder and President Phil Rawlins was in Tallahassee yesterday, lobbying for the club to receive funding.
Super Y Coaches, Tryouts Announced
This week, the club announced the coaches and tryout dates for Super Y's 2015 season. Boys and girls 10-14 years old can try out on Friday, March 6 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. at Seminole Soccer Complex.
2022 Qatar World Cup Moving to November-December
Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl announced on FOX Sports 1 yesterday that it's been confirmed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be moved to a November-December schedule. This has long been expected but Wahl said "it's a done deal." Should be fun to watch what the European leagues do with their schedules in 2022. They could play through it like MLS or suspend play with a prolonged winter break.
Meanwhile, slave labor continues in Qatar on stadium construction and we're sure there were totally no bribes involved in Qatar getting the World Cup in the first place.
Bachelor Making a Soccer Comeback?
Former Lion Jamie Watson threw up a selfie with former pro soccer player and The Bachelor "star" (God I hate "love"-based game shows) Juan Pablo Galavis. Watson called him a "new trialist" but we suspect a little tom foolery could be at work here. Still, Minnesota United could give him a look.
Enjoy your Thursday, folks.