Orlando City SC's press conference Thursday to kick off their #FillTheBowl campaign was far from their grandest media event.
It was cold and blustery in the tunnels of the renovated Citrus Bowl, and the media was more sparse than at previous events. There were still two or three dozen reporters and cameramen there, but it was far from the standing room only Media Day or home jersey unveiling.
Nonetheless, the support from Mayor Jacobs, Mayor Dyer, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber was unequivocal.
"It was about four years ago that Phil came into our office and said ‘I've got this dream,'" recalled Garber. "Here we are today, talking about filling this stadium with 60,000 people for our opening MLS Game. This is a club that's punching above its weight."
Both mayors were all smiles as well, cracking jokes with Garber and Lions President Phil Rawlins. The weight of the moment was definitely not lost on either though. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs implored people not to miss what is in essence a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"Orlando is absolutely soccer-crazy," Jacobs began. "For any of you who are watching and don't already have tickets, there is only one time for you to be there for the first game, and that is March 8."
Long time Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was clearly personally excited for the opening match, and he even mentioned he would be flying his son back from college in Boulder, CO. He also took the time to praise what Orlando City had done over the past four years.
"Everything they have done has been first class in the four years that they have played here in Orlando," Dyer said. "Both on the field and off the field, their community involvement and their philanthropic involvement. They have already integrated themselves into our community."
Truer words have never been spoken.
In the end, Dyer summed up nicely what a lot of City fans have known for some time.
"It just seems like the momentum grows, the excitement grows, every day," concluded Dyer. "I can't tell you how many purple magnets I see. I have no doubt we will fill the bowl on Sunday, March 8!"