Walt Disney World Resort agrees multi-year sponsorship deal with new MLS team Orlando City Soccer Club

Mar 05, 2015 in "ESPN Wide World of Sports"

Posted: Thursday March 5, 2015 11:50am EST by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World Resort and Orlando City Soccer Club announced yesterday a multi-year agreement making Walt Disney World Resort a founding sponsor of the Club. 


Walt Disney World Resort becomes the official theme park and resort destination of Orlando City Soccer Club; Disney Cruise Line becomes the official cruise line of the Club; and Disney Vacation Club becomes the official vacation club of the team. Also, Disney will have a significant presence at Orlando City home matches at the Citrus Bowl in 2015 as well as at its future multi-purpose downtown stadium starting in 2016.

“This collaboration further strengthens the existing bond between the two Orlandos – the one known around the world as Disney theme parks and the metropolitan, vibrant growing downtown represented by Purple Pride,” said Club President and Founder Phil Rawlins. “Over 60 million tourists visited Orlando last year – with many coming from Brazil. There’s a natural synergy here to showcase all the wonder that is the City Beautiful. We also look forward to jointly hosting additional high-profile soccer events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney through this relationship to the benefit of our fans, our community and the region.”

“Orlando City Soccer Club is writing an exciting new chapter in our region’s history,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We are proud to be part of the community-wide team effort to help the Lions become Central Florida’s next great success story.”

The 2015 Major League Soccer season kicks off at the Orlando Citrus Bowl as the Lions host New York City FC in front of a capacity crowd of more than 60,000 on March 8, 2015 at 5pm ET.

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doctornickMar 11, 2015

This. No one is going to mistake MLS for the EPL or La Liga or Bundesliga for quality of play at this point. But it has improved so much over the past decade or so that complaints about it being poor quality or boring seem hopelessly out of date. There are plenty of domestic leagues around the world with worse quality that get good local support; I don't understand the American snobbery that would cause folks to only want to watch/support some foreign league over the domestic product. It's not like watching EPL games on Sat or Sunday morning prevents a person from attending an MLS game later that evening.

zjerMar 10, 2015

I never thought to align a WDW trip with RSL vs Orlando City. Since we are in a different conference it will be a rare occurrence but I might have to look into that in the future.

psherman42Mar 10, 2015

That's pretty much the same as in Milwaukee. When my family first started going to games in the 90s-early 2000s, the Wave would regulary get 7-8,000 at their games. The league finals in 2000 and I believe 2002 were nearly sellouts with 15,000+ people. It was amazing. I know they're all online but I typically work nights and weekends when they're playing so it's not really an option for me.

Mickey_777Mar 10, 2015

I don't have actual figures, but I believe Soccer may well be the #3 sport in this country when you take all things into account. When you consider what jersey sales for MLS and International Clubs, TV ratings for MLS and European/Spanish language games, money invested in advertising during MLS/World Cup/Champions league/Spanish language games, the amount of kids playing in leagues, money invested in developing young players, money spent on renting soccer fields/indoor facilities for leagues and recreation (always full), what NBC paid to televise the Premier league etc... It's gotta surpass hockey/NHL at least...if it hasn't past Baseball yet, it's on it's way soon.

wdwtoptenMar 10, 2015

Great post. I've been the the Chicago Fire's stadium. It *is* very nice. And Sporting KC's stadium is nice and has a GREAT supporters group. Sporting KC even opens up the stadium's pub area (concessions area, if you prefer) so supporters can comes watch the away games there!

wdwtoptenMar 10, 2015

When a lot of the MLS teams first began, they had names like that. For example, Kansas City's team was called the "Wizards". The team was not terribly successful. Some of that it due to the quality of the players themselves, but a lot of it was marketing. You see, the people who most want to go see a soccer team play are...soccer fans. And soccer fans understand what FC and UNITED and CITY and SPORTING mean. These are common to European soccer team names. So, Kansas City changed it's name to Sporting KC. Since then, the team has been far more successful. Not just because of the name change (they also have better players and a nice, new stadium) but putting the word SPORTING in the team's name makes the team seem as though it has more tradition, is more interested in tradition, is more legit, is closer to the customs of the older, better international soccer leagues. In short, it gives soccer fans the Warm Fuzzies. And those fans who have the Warm Fuzzies like to support their team, both financially and by preaching to others. They bring friends to games. They bring their kids to games. Etc. This expands the fan base. And then the team makes more money, invests more money, and everyone is happy. Or, at least, happy-ish, depending on the win/loss record!

Mickey_777Mar 10, 2015

Those Jason Sudeikis videos are genius...so funny I had to share 'em. I've never seen the full versions just the commercials.

bhg469Mar 10, 2015

I think soccer is fine and I'll watch during the world cup. I think where the hate comes from is a few things. Lack of scoring Lack of contact The excessive diving, not that it doesn't happen in the nhl but soccer brings it to an ungodly level. and the most annoying thing about soccer to Americans is the soccer mom. It is a stereotype for a reason.

Uncle RemusMar 10, 2015

I'm a sports junkie. I've played almost everything, I've coached a few sports and watch literally everything. Except for women's basketball. As someone who loves athletics I never felt the need to bash something someone else was into simply because I wasn't. Most of Americans don't like or watch hockey. Most kids grow up having never played hockey. Yet the hockey fan is allowed to watch and follow his sport without any backlash from people who are ignorant to the great sport of hockey. Most of Americans don't like or watch soccer. Most kids grow up having played soccer at some point. Yet the soccer fan receives insults when they choose to watch or follow their sport and is met with backlash from people who are ignorant to the great sport of soccer. I never understood this. Who cares what sport someone else chooses to watch or follow? Nobody is forced to watch or attend something they don't want to. It's no different than telling people their choice in music sucks. If it doesn't appeal to you listen to what you like. If ESPN started airing an under water polo league does it really effect your life so much that you feel the undying need to slam it? The free market will decide which leagues are successful and which ones fold. Love what you love and let others do the same.

Uncle RemusMar 10, 2015

I'm sure theyd consider it if it was the NHL.

brifrazMar 10, 2015

I wouldn't say I like it better than the outdoor game, but I do enjoy indoor. Since the early 80's with the MISL when (at least here in Baltimore) they could draw over 10,000 per game. The other big difference is that we can actually afford to go to indoor games at $20 a ticket for a pretty decent view, as opposed to cheapest pretty poor view at MSL being close to $40. You know you can watch MASL games online?

psherman42Mar 10, 2015

Oh my gosh, someone who knows about the MASL. I grew up a huge Milwaukee Wave fan. My interest has diminished in recent years, as the league has struggled and I haven't been to a game since before I moved to Florida in January 2013 but I still follow the team. I love soccer in general but I've always preferred the indoor game. It's more exciting to watch and more fun to play. That said, I'm so excited to finally have an MLS team to cheer for. I hope Orlando City continues to be supported by the city and state of Florida as a whole.

GeorgeMar 10, 2015

The way MLS has been building is pure genius. By way of background, I am a former college player who grew up watching the Tampa Bay Rowdies when they would get 60,000 fans for that July 4th tilt against the Cosmos, Soccer Made in Germany (love FC Cologne for no logical reason, hate Bayern for obvious reasons) lived through the dark days of no soccer on TV, was delighted when I could watch the Premier League (picked Tottenham and my son picked Assenole), and attended a Chicago Fire game 5 years ago. First, I loved the soccer specific stadium. These 18,000 - 27,000 seat stadiums are great. I know people gripe about the location of the one in Chicago, but it is really nice. Second, the fostering of relations with the supporters groups/fans. KC doesn't have Blue Hell if they don't let the fans help design the stadium and even have input into things like where bars are going to be located and where the crazy supporters will be seated. Third, the slow advent of academies for each of the teams. Most of the teams have reserve teams now. They are building infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Even the way the teams are organized. About half the 30 man roster is subject to the salary cap and earns 200K +/- 100K. 10 players are not subject to the salary cap and earn the league minimum of 60K. Three or 4 (depending on how the roster is set up, do you have a homegrown designated player) earn millions You've got stars, guying just starting out, and solid pros. Each team has the same ratio so the fact the Chicago Fire are completely sucktastic is the result of mismanagement and not some inherent inequality, like Man U having 80 billion more dollars. We're going to easily pass the 20,000 average per game attendance figure this year without Chivas, San Jose moving into their own joint, and O-town and NYCFC drawing fans. I should also note, that less and less of the designated players are oldsters. Anyway, if I can roll out of bed and watch some premiership on Saturday and watch an MLS double header every Sunday evening, I'm a happy man.

GeorgeMar 10, 2015