Orlando has become quite the soccer mecca in the United States according to WalletHub.com, a personal finance website. WalletHub.com has dubbed it the best city for soccer fans over 295 other cities that were a part of the study. Each of these cities that has at least one college level or above soccer team were graded across 51 metrics, from things like season ticket price to the team’s success. The results showed Orlando as the top place to be.
Orlando is home to the MLS Orlando City Lions as well as the NWSL Orlando Pride. This strong soccer presence garnered the city the top grade in multiple categories. The city was first in annual season ticket price (lowest price) as well as MLS fan engagement. Since both of these teams play in the 65,000 capacity Camping World Stadium, the city also received the highest grade for stadium capacity. An average of 33,000 people filled these seats last year in each game. In a few years, each of these teams will move into a new privately owned stadium, which will seat 25,500 fans.
Orlando is also home to Division I college teams like the men’s and women’s teams at The University of Central Florida and Stetson University. As WalletHub.com also takes Division I teams into account, these teams affected Orlando’s standing. As far as the college programs go, Orlando ranked 88th for the men’s and 30th for the women’s. But that did not stop the city from receiving the highest score of 45.25, just ahead of Los Angeles, Portland, and Kansas City.
Growth of Soccer in Orlando
It is because of this city’s tremendous growth in its soccer culture that it will be one of the 10 United States cities that will host a game for the Copa America Tournament. This year, the tournament began on June 3rd and marks the first time that the tournament will be held outside of South America. This is another testament to the growth of the sport in Orlando and in the United States in general.
WalletHub.com does countless more studies, including one that resulted in 8 to 1 odds for the United States to win Copa America. They have also found that travel from Latin America to the United States is up 131% with the tournament and there will be a total of 1.75 million fans across the attendance for all 32 matches of the tournament. Another incredible statistic that was found through cooperation with the Department of Justice is that about $110 million were paid in bribes for commercial rights of the tournament.