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Walt Disney World becomes founding sponsor of Orlando City Socce

The Orlando City Lions spent much of their last season in the USLPro soccer league playing at Walt Disney World’s ESPN WWOS Complex. I imagine that gave plenty of time for the team’s ownership to get to know the team at Disney. You wouldn’t have to dive two deep into either side’s spreadsheet to know that a continued relationship once Orlando City joined the MLS would be mutually beneficial. Therefore, today’s bit announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise. That said, it is good to see.

Walt Disney World Resort and Orlando City Soccer Club have announced today a multi-year agreement making Walt Disney World Resort a founding sponsor of the Club. The announcement comes at an exciting time, just days before Orlando City Soccer Club’s 2015 Major League Soccer debut on Sunday.

Under the agreement, 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.

orland-city-lions-soccer

Great news soccer fans. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World will host Orlando City Lions Soccer Club for its 2014 season. The team is relocating due to renovation work at its current home of the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Additionally, a new stadium built with soccer in mind has been approved, so the Lions may have played their last game in the Citrus Bowl (depending on when it is able to re-open).

Although the deal isn’t 100% in stone, it’s generally accepted that the 2015 season will see Orlando’s team join Major League Soccer. So it will be an interesting transition year, to say the least. Disney and ESPN WWOS already have a great relationship with the MLS via Disney’s Pro-Soccer Classic and have hosted some training and sub-teams of various European clubs as well.

“We hope our fans are as thrilled as we are to call ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex our home field for the 2014 season,” said Phil Rawlins, president of Orlando City Soccer Club. “With professional sporting event experience, premier soccer fields and world-class amenities, this facility will enable us to play all of our home games in one location and in a venue where our fans will be closer to our players than ever before. We look forward to next year’s possibilities before hopefully heading into MLS for the 2015 season.”