ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City opened its brand new soccer stadium Friday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Hours before the 10 a.m. event, crews were seen setting up and putting the final touches on the 25,000-seat stadium along Church Street in downtown Orlando.
The site is located at 655 W. Church Street in the heart of the Parramore community, which has been a focus of revitalization efforts by city leaders.
Prior to Friday’s ribbon cutting, officials with Orlando City said they would also unveil plans for a Parramore History Wall to be built along the south side of the stadium.
Orlando City co-founder Kay Rawlins said six panels located on the east side of the stadium will highlight some of Parramore’s history.
“We are now a part of the Parramore neighborhood and we will strive to be good neighbors,” Rawlins said.
Features of the new stadium include a 360-degree lower bowl, with a canopy overhead to enhance crowd noise and provide shelter from harsh weather conditions.
The field was also designed to be 8 feet below ground level, which gives a view inside the stadium from the main entrance.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony, sharing how excited he was about the stadium. Dyer said sports bring the community together and that “Orlando has never had a year where it needed to come together more than this last one.”
District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill told the crowd how thankful she was for the stadium because of the hope and opportunity it will bring to Parramore.
“This is the day we cut the ribbon,” Hill said. “The day that little boys and girls that hang outside this stadium will be introduced to the game of soccer that will bring them opportunities outside of Parramore.”
On Saturday, fans will be allowed inside the stadium for the first time during a “House Party.” The event will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and open to anyone who reserves a free ticket at OrlandoCitySC.com.
Officials told News 6 that construction is on schedule, but work may still be taking place in the area outside the stadium when the season starts.
Orlando City’s first game in the new stadium is March 5 vs. New York City FC.
By: Mark Lehman