Connect with us

Orlando City

Orlando City’s Home Stadium Gets New Name

The new name for the home of the Lions and Pride is kind of cringe but the partnership will be a positive for OCSC.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Exploria Stadium is no more. Orlando City Stadium is long gone. The next time you step into the purple palace on Church Street in Parramore, chances are you’ll be walking into Inter&Co Stadium. Yes, you read that correctly. The Lions and Pride will play in a building that shares part of its name with Orlando City’s southern, in-state rivals.

The club has entered into a long-term naming rights agreement with the financial and digital commerce services company — one that many of you may not have ever heard of before (it’s based in Brazil) unless you’ve seen its previous promotions at the stadium. It is a “founding partner” on the Orlando City partners page. The deal was officially announced today at a press conference at the stadium.

In September, Inter&Co became the club’s official financial institution of both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. The Brazilian-based company is the club’s first international partner.

Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon said that the initial partnership grew into the current stadium naming rights agreement. There wasn’t a widespread search for a new stadium name sponsor. Inter&Co leadership, he said, experienced firsthand the passion the city had for both the MLS and NWSL teams, wanted to be a bigger part of it, and asked how they could make it happen. That led to the discussions that eventually culminated in today’s announcement.

“It’s only fitting that as we enter our 10th season in the MLS here in Orlando and ninth in the NWSL that we would partner for the next decade with a global company, not only committed to our community, but with a shared vision for the future,” Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride Owner and Chairman Mark Wilf said in a club press release. “We are truly excited about what we will build together, enhancing the fan experience in the venue and further connecting our soccer cultures in meaningful ways.”

Who or What Is Inter&Co?

In addition to being the holding company of Inter Group, it is the first financial institution with Latin-American roots to own the naming rights of a major stadium in the U.S. Based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, it holds all of Banco Inter’s shares. (Banco Inter is a large, Brazilian bank.) Inter bills its digital financial services platform as a “super app” which sounds fancier than a normal app, but that simply means it combines multiple services into one platform. It claims to provide financial and digital commerce services to more than 30 million customers. What services? Banking, investments, credit, insurance, and cross-border services.

The company has other soccer-based relationships with Clube Atlético Mineiro, Athletico Paranaense, and Fortaleza Esporte Clube. Its sister company, MRV, has naming rights to the MRV Arena in Belo Horizonte.

“I think one area that’s going to be exciting for fans is the synergies with soccer, and soccer leadership,” Dillon said. “There’s not a lot of partnerships on the business side that necessarily soccer and business are kind of talking about together and strategizing around. This happened to be one. Inter&Co has, I would say significant history of partnerships with major Brazilian top flight clubs. They could have partnered with anybody in the world — you know, EPL, Barcelona, Real Madrid, these clubs, like they could have partnered with anybody. And for us to know that we’re working with them, that that’s how much they believe in Orlando City and Orlando Pride, in our region, and our city, and our community is really an honor.”

Inter, per the club’s press release, will provide Orlando soccer fans with exclusive access to as-yet unnamed products on the company’s app as well as rewards, perks, and unique stadium experiences. There are also plans to bring more cultural and music events to the stadium, including a post-game concert for ticketholders following an Orlando City match this season. There is no word yet on the musical act, but Dillon said an agreement is nearing completion.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

What It Means for Orlando City/Orlando Pride

According to the club, the company has already started to make technology upgrades to the stadium. These include new LED lighting, a new video board with upgraded resolution, a new LED video wall in the West Club, and new television monitors in the suites, premium spaces, concession stands, and lower-level concourse. There are also plans for new interactive concourse displays, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, 5G antennas for improved cell service, and new hospitality options.

It also means that if you’re on social media, you will likely be extra annoyed at all the jokes that write themselves if and when Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami wins at the newly renamed stadium against Orlando City.

“It absolutely was a conversation point with our executive team and soccer operations and business operations,” Dillon said about the coincidence of having “Inter” written on the side of the club’s stadium. “I think, essentially, where we landed is we just really felt like we’re going to give our fans the benefit of the doubt to understand all the great things that this partnership is going to bring to our club, for business, for soccer, to help provide the resources for us to continue to be competitive, to continue to win, to continue to pour in those resources to both clubs on the pitch and off the pitch. And we really feel as we go through this, that all the benefits far outweigh that.”

It’s obviously great for the club to find a naming rights partner, and it’s not always easy to do that. It helps the club financially and the technology amenities Inter promises will benefit fans.

But the name that goes on the front (and side, and top) of the stadium matters. It may not matter to everyone what it’s called. However, most people prefer a “cool” name (we’re still stanning Publix Park and pining for a rotating lion statue out front…and at least it’s not a shady crypto or NFT company, a pyramid scheme or…ahem…a timeshare firm). Many fans would at least settle for a name that’s not embarrassing. The new name isn’t exactly cool (it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and the lack of spaces in the way it’s stylized is annoying). And while not outright embarrassing, it is at least in the neighborhood of it to have part of the name of the club’s biggest rival so prominently displayed. The fan banter will be insufferable if Orlando City loses at home to its southern neighbors.

Dillon said this naming thing could even help intensify the rivalry.

“I am as competitive as anybody else,” Dillon said. “This does not give our rival any competitive advantage. What matters is going out and playing and our fans and supporters being in the crowd, supporting the players. We just really believe that our fans are going to understand the greater good when they see all the different elements of this partnership and what it’s going to bring resource-wise and allow us to hopefully go out and do for both City and Pride.”

If it helps you think about it this way, at least the stadium isn’t being named after fellow club “founding partner” and noted fan-fleecing firm Ticketmaster. And we’ll all need to get used to it, as the partnership is a 10-year agreement.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

Published

on

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early on in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team Nani FC fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks


That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

Continue Reading

Opinion

Thoughts from Orlando City’s Open Training Session

What did we learn from an early morning summer scrimmage?

Published

on

Sean Rollins, The Mane Land

Orlando City opened up the gates of its training facility today for season ticket members to take in a morning training session. The team took the field close to 8:30 a.m. and proceeded to run a first team vs. second team scrimmage for the better part of an hour. The first team was made up of mostly regular-season starters with the exception of those players currently representing their countries on international duty or those rehabbing injuries.

Efforts put in during practice and on the training pitch should always be taken with a small grain of salt, but what follows are my rapid reactions from a hot and sunny training morning.

4-4-2 Formation

The first-team Lions took the field in a 4-4-2 configuration with the likes of Rodrigo Schlegel, Nico Lodeiro, and Luis Muriel on the pitch in their usual positions. Prior to the last match, it appeared as if Orlando might move away from the 3-5-2, but it never changed back from the shape used for the better part of the last month. I do, however, expect that the team will utilize a four-man back line when Orlando City takes the pitch again on June 15 against LAFC with Duncan McGuire and Muriel up top.

The action during the scrimmage period was mostly one sided, but without playmakers like Facundo Torres on the pitch during training, it seemed as if most of the action was funneled through Ivan Angulo up the left side of the field. The back line played well together in the scrimmage but did allow the second-team players to complete several long balls from time to time.

Old Habits Die Hard

One of the things I was most interested to observe during the training session was how the team attacked the goal and how aggressive their shot taking would be. Unfortunately, it does appear that the old saying “you play how you practice” could be seen in full force as several culprits who have shown bad decision-making during matches used the same poor decision-making in practice. I wish that I could say the results were different but they were not. There are still a handful of players who are very touch happy and often missed out on opportunities to take shots by trying to over dribble or by being too cute with combination passes in the box.

For a team that mustered fewer shot attempts than I have digits on one hand during its last outing against the New York Red Bulls, I would love to see the boys in purple pull the trigger from anywhere and at any time. It seems as though some of the offensive issues that have plagued the attack during matches is coming from habits shown on the training ground.

Jack Lynn’s Impressive Scrimmage

With McGuire away with the U-23 USMNT squad and Ramiro Enrique not on the training pitch, Jack Lynn started alongside Muriel up top for the first team. Lynn was easily the most impressive player from the training session today, scoring in a variety of ways that show he has continued to put in effort behind the scenes to improve his quality. While he may be lacking some of the pure athleticism of McGuire or the savvy of Muriel, Lynn continued to press toward goal throughout the scrimmage and I stopped counting after his third goal.

My favorite effort of his during the session was his first shot on frame, which was a beautiful curling ball from outside the 18 into the upper 90. Lynn has shown glimpses of his ability when he has been called upon this year and may be in line for more playing time depending on how the summer transfer window shakes out. Based upon the effort of the training session today, he will be ready when his number is called.


All in all, even under the hot Florida summer sun, it was a really nice event that the club put on for season ticket members of all ages, and I hope to see Orlando City host more of these events in the future. The Lions are on a bye week and will look to get back to their winning ways on June 15 at home against LAFC. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Trending