It took several years, but Orlando City finally has an official corporate name for its downtown home: Exploria Stadium.
Terms of the deal between the club and Exploria Resorts, a Central-Florida based company with a large Brazilian population among its ownership, were not disclosed.
“The most important thing for us is that we have a company that shares our values, shares our passion with the game,” Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao said. “It’s an Orlando-based company, a company that understands we’re here for the game, but as well for the community. They want to be with us in that part.”
Leitao says Orlando City was looking for “the perfect partner” in choosing the company to partner with, sensing “no need to rush.” While recent soccer-specific stadiums in MLS have opened with names on the building — Allianz Field in Minnesota and Audi Field in DC, for examples — the 25,500 seat stadium has been dubbed Orlando City Stadium since opening its doors in March of 2017.
Leitao admits the timing of the announcement may have something to do with the attention of the league turning towards Orlando at the end of July with the MLS All-Star Game coming to town with Spanish side Athletico Madrid, but that in the end, the timing is far less important in the grand scheme of things.
“It’s not about a week, it’s not about a month, it’s not about the events in the next month, it’s a long-term, I can not tell you how long exactly, but it’s a long-term partnership and relationship,” Leitao said.
Thomas Morris, the CEO or Exploria Resorts, said the demographics of both soccer fans and its ownership base made it an ideal partnership for the company to enter into.
“For us, it’s about credibility,” Morris said about the deal and the history of returns on companies putting their names on stadiums. “Exploria is not a household name, so our goal all along was to try to provide some brand credibility, and I think if you think about how popular soccer is here in Orlando as well as across the country and how it’s growing, we feel like we can leverage that for our brand credibility.”
For more up-to-date news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer