A year ago, as final construction efforts on Orlando City Stadium were being finalized, Flávio Augusto da Silva, the club’s majority-owner, shared a heartfelt message with the Orlando City family.
“I must thank our supporters, because in the end these supporters made us very confident to go through the challenge of constructing this stadium,” Augusto da Silva said. “So, the way for us to give them back a big thank you is give them a home. So now we have a home here, our supporters have a home here in Orlando. I would like to thank them very, very much.”
Orlando City fans deserved a home: a special environment to celebrate the beautiful game surrounded by friends, family and passionate supporters who love their club. After three years of patiently waiting, that home was christened.
In a 2017 season which saw its ups and downs, Orlando City came storming out the gates in the spring -- winning their first four home matches in dramatic fashion while setting a new league record along the way. Sell-out crowds created unbelievable match day atmospheres, making it clear something special was unfolding before our very eyes. Then, once the Orlando Pride season kicked off, Orlando City Stadium quickly became the epicenter for soccer in the south.
In all, attendance at Orlando City Stadium in 2017 was 523,699 over 48 Orlando City, Pride and OCB matches. The Lions hosted 17 MLS matches over the course of the season, averaging an attendance of just over 25,000 per match -- fourth in the league. The stadium hosted the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying match against Panama, which the Americans won 4-0 in front of a sell-out crowd. Orlando City Stadium was the venue for this year’s NWSL Championship, and is scheduled to host the NCAA Women’s College Cup in December. The stadium also hosted the Fuerza Puerto Rico Friendly on Nov. 4, to raise funds and aid recovery efforts for the United For Puerto Rico initiative.
And one thing is for certain: it gets loud. The facility has a contemporary, cutting edge design including a ‘bowl’ feature -- essentially trapping noise within the confines of the stadium. All season long visiting players and coaches have marveled about the electric atmosphere inside Orlando City Stadium. The home-field advantage is real. Fans who witnessed the Lions’ epic 6-1 home victory, or the Pride’s record unbeaten streak, among other memorable moments, saw first-hand how supporters can push a team on to one day achieve great things.
The conception of this glorious stadium, however, was centered on the idea of giving back to the people in Orlando. The people who have been with this club for years; the people who show up, rain or shine, to support their club, no matter what. This stadium was built for the young Lions, life-long supporters and everyone in between. 2017 was only the beginning.