Orlando Dreamers Win Landslide Victory in Orlando Business Journal Poll

Readers chose the Orlando Dreamers' request for MLB stadium financing as their first choice for use of Orange County Tourist Development Tax funds by wide margin over other applicants

Orlando Dreamers won over half of total votes cast across 16 competing project requests

ORLANDO, FL / ACCESSWIRE / July 10, 2023 / The Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC's (Orlando Dreamers) plans for a MLB stadium in Orange County, Florida, emerged as the top pick for future allocation of Orange County Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds, according to a recent poll by the Orlando Business Journal poll (OBJ). The results, featured in the June 30-July 6 edition of OBJ, reveal a decisive victory for the Orlando Dreamers, who garnered 52.6% of the total votes, leaving the majority of the other 15 contenders trailing significantly behind.

The poll placed the Orlando Dreamers far ahead of the second-place finisher, who secured only 33.6% of the 4,852 votes cast. No other projects garnered even 5% of the votes. The Orlando Dreamers' proposal involves a request for $975 million in TDT funds to be put towards construction of their planned domed stadium and its accompanying parking garages, estimated to cost $1.7 billion in total. Team ownership will be responsible for arranging the balance of the financing.

The proposition would see Orange County becoming the sole owner of the stadium and parking facilities, as well as retaining ownership of the 35.5-acre site located near SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center. This deal marks the largest private funding in Major League Baseball history for a publicly owned stadium.

The Orlando Dreamers have also given Orange County reassurances regarding the annual operating costs of the stadium. As part of their commitment made during the application process, the team will allocate a portion of its revenues to cover any potential annual shortfalls, even though the county owns the facility.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings commissioned a 32-member voluntary advisory Task Force, comprising local residents, to review applications for future TDT funding. According to Pat Williams, Co-Founder and President of the Orlando Dreamers, the Task Force has successfully narrowed down the initial 55 applicants to a more manageable 11 finalists that meet the qualification guidelines, including the Orlando Dreamers. "The Orange County Commissioners and Mayor can now delve deeper into these finalists' proposals to make independent decisions regarding which requests will receive formal approval," stated Williams.

While the Task Force provided a recommended ranking of the finalists, no specific dollar amounts were attached to the recommendations. Williams pointed out, due to the sheer volume of material and limited resources, the Task Force was unable to perform comprehensive due diligence on each application. Williams emphasized this more detailed technical analysis would materially alter the rankings submitted by the Task Force, however he commended the Task Force for achieving their primary goal of reducing the huge pool of applicants down to the final 11 groups that met the qualifications.

Williams underscored the significance of the OBJ poll results, stating, "The local business community, the backbone of our tourism industry, has spoken, and it is clear that the overwhelming priority from this group is allocating partial funding for a stadium and bringing Major League Baseball to Orlando. Providing near term approval for stadium financing, contingent on getting formal approval for a team in the next 24 months, would honor the desire of the business community."

Williams further noted that the Dreamers' TDT funding application stands apart in several ways. "This is a once in a generation opportunity to bring Major League Baseball to Orlando, and having contingent funding approval for the stadium is a pre-requisite to be awarded an MLB franchise," he explained. "This is no different than when I worked to bring the Orlando Magic to the city, an NBA franchise was not committed until the Commissioners and Mayor voted to approve public financing for an arena."

"MLB unconditionally wants to see a public/private partnership in regard to stadium funding," continued Williams. "We believe the process to secure a team could move very quickly, so we have to be prepared to make our best case in the next few months. Other TDT applicants would not be materially compromised by asking them to come back in a year or two with their requests, but the MLB opportunity would be doomed with such a delay."

The Orlando Dreamers are confident that securing approval for partial stadium funding will lead to Orlando acquiring an MLB franchise, and its application is also unique relative to other applicants in that there is a guarantee that Orange County gets the promised outcome of a team if TDT funds are spent on a stadium.

Williams added, "It is abundantly clear that having a team right in the middle of the tourist corridor will be highly complementary to numerous other entities requesting funding, in particular the Orange County Convention Center. We have gone to great lengths to respect the initial request of Mayor Demings in both the design and location of the stadium, making this a tourist attraction unto itself that is a ‘must visit' 365 days a year."

The Orlando Dreamers previously announced that an economic impact study completed by JLL, a leading professional services firm, indicated an economic impact of over $40 billion for Orange County over 30 years and creation of approximately 25,000 permanent jobs. The team also plans to construct lighted baseball and softball fields in each of the Orange County districts in order to encourage local youth to become active participants in these sports, as well as host "Youth Days" at the Orlando Dreamers' domed stadium for Orange County students to attend games and events.

About Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC

Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC was established to bring Major League Baseball to Orlando and Central Florida. The organization is led by Pat Williams, Founder of the Orlando Magic, and updates can be found at www.orlandodreamers.com. Orlando is the largest media market in the United States without a Major League Baseball team, recently surpassing Miami in terms of media market size. Orlando is also the most visited destination in the world.


Dave Gentry
RedChip Companies

SOURCE: Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC