Orlando Ranked First in Most Categories Critical to the Success of an MLB Team

RedChip Companies engaged to validate comparisons between cities vying for an MLB franchise

Orlando ranked #1 in 9 of 11 categories; finished #2 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 that have been identified as potential candidates pursuing a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. Eleven attributes deemed critical to the success of an MLB franchise were analyzed using data from a variety of independent sources. Orlando ranked first in nine of the 11 categories and finished second in the other two.

According to Pat Williams, Co-Founder and President of the Orlando Dreamers, "The analysis confirms that Orlando clearly possesses the necessary credentials to be the most logical location of the next MLB franchise. In numerous of the categories, there is not a close second place. Although the various data sources in some cases were based on that city's visitor bureau, which may have used different criteria in certain categories than peer cities, such modest inconsistencies do not change the overall conclusion. It clearly appears that the Orlando metro area will continue to extend its leadership position in the coming years with the meteoric growth we are experiencing. By the time the two MLB expansion teams are playing, the gap between Orlando and the next closest city will widen further."

Recent independent reports from sources such as the Sports Business Journal, which ranked Orlando as the #1 sports business city in the nation, prompted the Dreamers to initiate the formal comparison. Cvent also announced that Orlando was voted the top meeting destination in North America. The formal city comparison chart (Fig. 1), highlights the category leaders in green and the lowest ranked cities 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 US without an MLB team at #16 in the country (and expected to pass Minneapolis-St. Paul in the next 12 months to become #15), Orlando is also the largest metro area population-wise among the competitors. Williams emphasized that of the eight cities identified as potentially pursuing an MLB franchise, Orlando is the fastest growing. "There are a couple additional categories that we believe are critical to the success of baseball in any market, though these attributes are more qualitative in nature, and thus not capable of being included in an independent objective ranking document. Stadium location and design would be examples of such categories. Although many of the candidate cities have not even identified a stadium site, much less finished an initial stadium rendering that would include approximate fan capacity, Orlando completed that step in 2023. We believe our state of the art domed stadium design with capacity for 45,000 fans, situated next to SeaWorld, adjacent to the second-largest convention center in the country, very near the new Universal Studios theme park, and in the middle of the tourist district that attracts almost 80 million visitors a year, is unmatchable. Also, ingress and egress to the stadium is crucial for the optimal fan experience. We will have local and high-speed rail 100 yards from our stadium site with a covered walkway to our complex. This, combined with 6,700 covered parking spaces on-site, will guarantee our fans never experience a drop of rain."

Williams further noted that the ability of the local area to meaningfully participate in a public/private stadium financing structure is critical. "With the cost of MLB franchises having to privately finance 100% of new stadium costs creates insurmountable obstacles. New ballparks will cost $1.5-$2.0 billion when including necessary amenities such as parking garages. Burdening team ownership with the full obligation of stadium financing greatly reduces the number of prospective team owners that are financially qualified. In addition, saddling owners with that full responsibility greatly lowers the return on investment for team acquisition. It also sets a precedent that provides ‘fodder' for opponents in other cities to seize as ammunition for rallying criticism of government officials that support partial public financing of stadiums. Orange County, Florida generated $359 million in tourist development taxes in the last fiscal year from hotel stays due to Orlando being the most visited destination in the country. Current law provides that these tourist taxes can be utilized only in very limited ways, including sports facility construction. Unlike Orlando, multiple other cities pushing for an MLB team have already acknowledged they have no means for meaningful public financing support for stadium construction costs, and it's highly unlikely any of the other remaining cities will have that capability."

Orlando is the most visited destination in the country. Las Vegas, with recent new NFL and NHL franchises that have been highly successful, draws about half the quantity of annual tourists, though significantly more than any city other than Orlando in competition for an MLB franchise. The Oakland A's are expected to begin play in Las Vegas yet this decade. "Tourism has been a major factor in the success of the new professional sports franchises in Las Vegas. Visitors coming to destinations such as Orlando and Las Vegas are accustomed to spending significant sums of money. Going to an MLB game will be a highly desirable addition to the traditional activities for these guests, and the cost will be a non-factor in both cities. These will largely be incremental expenditures that do not cannibalize from other areas. There is no question that MLB will be a great success in both Orlando and Las Vegas," Williams stated.

The Orlando Dreamers previously reported that based on an independent study completed in 2023, bringing MLB to Orlando playing in the planned domed stadium located on the 35.5-acre parcel adjacent to SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center will yield approximately 25,000 permanent jobs and create in excess of $40 billion in economic impact to Orange County over 30 years. Major League Baseball has indicated its plan to start the process for adding two expansion teams as soon as the stadium situation with the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg is addressed. The votes from both the city and county on approving public financing for a new stadium have been delayed, and are now tentatively scheduled for July.

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.


Dave Gentry
RedChip Companies

SOURCE: Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC