While Orlando City’s new stadium continues to receive a great deal of praise, and deservedly so, there are still some problems that need to be worked out. No problem has been more of an issue or has been talked about more than the entrance into the stadium.
When a new stadium opens, there is guaranteed to be some kinks that need working out. The first season in a new stadium is largely a test run to solve problems that range from bathrooms and concessions to the field and views of the game. For Orlando City, it’s the entrance into the stadium that has been the biggest issue.
To Orlando City’s credit, it has recognized the problem and taken steps to correct it. After receiving numerous complaints about the difficulty of entering the stadium following the club’s March 5 opener, the club announced that all gates would be open to all fans in order to relieve congestion at all gates. Despite this move, entering the stadium has still proven difficult for many fans.
The entrance trouble has been noticed not just by local fans, but also visitors. Entering the stadium through Gate B for the club’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, a Bavarian native pointed out that it is much easier to enter the 70,000-seat Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich, than it is to enter the 25,500-seat Orlando City Stadium.
Part of the stadium entrance difficulties lie in the stadium’s finite place in downtown Orlando. The stadium is limited in the amount of room to easily transport people around the stadium because of the limited amount of land the club had on which to build the $155 million building. Another problem could be the lack of gates located within the stadium which, again, is largely due to limitations of the stadium’s location and size.
Orlando City has done its best to educate fans on the best way to enter the venue — from arriving early, to finding the gate closest to your section. Regardless, many fans are still going to arrive in the final moments leading up to the game, causing significant congestion getting into the building.
So what can be done about this problem? One option would be to have an entrance specifically for season ticket holders. Given that there are 18,000 season ticket holders for the MLS side, there are significantly more season ticket holders than non-season ticket holders attending games. However, season ticket holders use their cards while non-season ticket holders must use mobile devices to enter the stadium.
While there certainly are advantages to using your mobile device to enter a stadium over paper tickets, it can also be more complicated. Scanning a mobile device can be more difficult than a paper ticket and the holder must be able to access the ticket. If they are having issues with internet connectivity, this can result in a buildup of fans waiting to enter the stadium. Having an entrance where only those possessing season ticket cards can enter would solve some of the congestion as those fans would not suffer the problems of entering with a mobile device.
Another way to solve this main problem with fans entering the stadium in a timely fashion would be to get rid of the mobile-ticket-only policy that the club implemented this season. Having paper tickets would mean fans would not have to worry about issues with their mobile devices and would allow lines entering the stadium to move much more smoothly.
Regardless of what measures the club implements to allow fans to enter the stadium more easily, something has to be done. After the first three home games of the 2017 season, long delayed lines entering the stadium remains a major problem. While the problem persists for the time being, it’s one that will likely be dealt with and, by the end of the season, long forgotten.