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Orlando ranks first in most of the categories that determine the success of an MLB team

RedChip companies are hired to validate comparisons between cities competing for an MLB franchise

Orlando took first place in 9 of 11 categories and second place in the other categories.

ORLANDO, FL / ACCESSWIRE / May 29, 2024 / The Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC (Orlando Dreamers) recently commissioned RedChip Companies to validate a comparative analysis of the cities identified as potential candidates for a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. Eleven attributes considered critical to the success of an MLB franchise were analyzed using data from various independent sources. Orlando ranked first in nine of the eleven categories and second in the other two.

Pat Williams, co-founder and president of the Orlando Dreamers, said, “The analysis confirms that Orlando clearly has the necessary ingredients to be the most logical location for the next MLB franchise. There is no close second in numerous categories. Although in some cases the various data sources were based on the tourism board of each city, which may have used different criteria than comparable cities in certain categories, such minor discrepancies do not change the overall conclusion. It looks as though the Orlando metropolitan area will continue to extend its leadership position in the coming years with the meteoric growth we are currently experiencing. By the time the two MLB expansion teams are playing, the gap between Orlando and the next closest city will continue to widen.”

Recent independent reports from sources such as Sports Business Journal, which named Orlando the nation's best sports business city, prompted the Dreamers to initiate the official comparison. Cvent also announced that Orlando was voted the best meeting destination in North America. In the official city comparison table (Fig. 1), the top performers in the categories are highlighted in green and the lowest-ranked cities are highlighted in red.

Figure 1 – Comparison of city rankings for categories critical to the success of an MLB team

In addition to being the largest media market in the U.S. without an MLB team (16th in the country) (and expected to overtake Minneapolis-St. Paul to rank 15th over the next 12 months), Orlando is also the most populous metropolitan area among its contenders. Williams emphasized that of the eight cities considered potential contenders for an MLB franchise, Orlando is the fastest growing. “There are a few more categories that we believe are critical to baseball's success in any market, although these attributes are more qualitative in nature and therefore cannot be included in an independent objective evaluation document. Examples of such categories would be stadium location and design. Although many of the candidate cities have not even identified a site for a stadium, let alone completed an initial stadium rendering that would include approximate fan capacity, Orlando completed that step in 2023. We believe our state-of-the-art dome stadium design with a capacity of 45,000 fans, located next to SeaWorld, adjacent to the second largest convention center in the country, very close to the new Universal Studios theme park and in the heart of the tourist district that attracts nearly 80 million visitors annually, is unmatched. The entrance and exit to the stadium is also critical to the optimal fan experience. We will have a commuter and high-speed rail 100 meters from our stadium site with a covered walkway to our complex. Combined with the 6,700 covered parking spaces on site, we guarantee that our fans will not experience a single drop of rain.”

Williams further noted that the region's ability to meaningfully participate in a public-private financing structure for stadiums is critical. “The cost of MLB franchises having to privately finance 100% of the cost of new stadiums creates insurmountable obstacles. New stadiums cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion when you include necessary amenities like parking garages. Having team owners assume full responsibility for financing stadiums greatly reduces the pool of potential team owners who are financially qualified. In addition, burdening owners with this full responsibility greatly reduces the return on investment for acquiring teams. It also sets a precedent that provides opponents in other cities 'fodder' to use as ammunition to criticize government officials who support partial public financing of stadiums. Orange County, Florida, collected $359 million in tourism taxes from hotel stays last fiscal year, as Orlando is the most visited destination in the country. Current law provides that these tourism taxes can only be used in very limited ways, including the construction of sports facilities. Unlike Orlando, several other cities lobbying for an MLB team have already acknowledged that they do not have the resources for significant public financing of stadium construction costs, and it is highly unlikely that any of the other remaining cities will be able to do so.”

Orlando is the most visited destination in the country. Las Vegas, where new, highly successful NFL and NHL franchises were recently established, attracts about half of the annual tourists, but significantly more than any other city other than Orlando competing for an MLB franchise. The Oakland A's are expected to play in Las Vegas later this decade. “Tourism has been a major factor in the success of the new professional sports franchises in Las Vegas. Visitors who visit destinations such as Orlando and Las Vegas are accustomed to spending significant amounts of money. Attending an MLB game will be a very attractive addition to traditional activities for these guests, and cost will not be an issue in either city. It is largely an additional expense that does not come at the expense of other areas. There is no doubt that MLB will be a huge success in both Orlando and Las Vegas,” Williams explained.

The Orlando Dreamers previously reported that based on an independent study in 2023, the arrival of MLB games in Orlando, held at the planned indoor stadium on the 35.5-acre property adjacent to SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center, will create approximately 25,000 permanent jobs and generate over $40 billion in economic benefits to Orange County over the next 30 years. Major League Baseball has said it will begin the process of adding two expansion teams once the stadium situation with the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg is resolved. City and county votes to approve public funds for a new stadium have been postponed and are now tentatively scheduled for July.

About Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC

Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC was formed to bring Major League Baseball to Orlando and Central Florida. The organization is led by Pat Williams, founder of the Orlando Magic. For current information, visit www.orlandodreamers.com.

Contact:

Dave Gentry
RedChip Company
1-800-733-2447
dreamers@redchip.com

SOURCE: Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC

View the original press release on accesswire.com.

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