Fiscal conservatives warned though that it was a matter of time before that soccer franchise made a play for a downtown soccer-only stadium built and operated with taxpayer dollars. It was even rumored that the real reason for the 67% increase in admissions tax and 50% increase in the local rental car tax the Capital Improvement Board and City administration pushed through the Indianapolis City-County Council was to provide an influx of cash to the CIB in order to subsidize the soccer franchise. During the announcement, Mr. Ozdemir admitted that that eventually a new downtown soccer stadium would be pursued. Media types though didn't ask tough followup questions such as who would pay for that stadium.
Orlando, Florida faced the exact same situation as Indianapolis. The Orlando Sentinel reports:
A wealthy Brazilian entrepreneur became a major investor in the Orlando City Soccer Club on Friday [February15th], bringing an influx of cash that makes it much more likely that Orlando will land a Major League Soccer franchise — and that taxpayers will help foot the bill for a new soccer stadium.
In an exclusive interview with the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday, Orlando City Lions president Phil Rawlins and businessman Flávio Augusto da Silva confirmed that he is now part of the team's ownership group and will eventually be its primary owner. The investment is a major step in the minor league USL Pro team's effort to gain entry into Major League Soccer.Indianapolis taxpayers get ready to hold onto your wallets once again. Soccer is coming to town and you're going to pay for it. My guess is that the stadium will be built on the grounds of the Old Market Square Arena with an attached commercial development also subsidized by taxpayers. Proceeds from the development will undoubtedly go to the owners of the soccer team and not to the public.
At the same time, negotiations are under way between team executives and officials from Orlando and Orange County over building a new $105 million stadium for the team. Taxpayers would pay most of the tab for the 18,000-seat facility.
"A soccer-specific stadium is a must for the award of an MLS franchise," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
There's been no agreement on a financing plan between Dyer's administration and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs' administration. But here is what's being discussed:
•$30 million from the team.
•$30 million in state sales taxes.
•$25 million in hotel taxes from the county.
•$20 million from the city, mostly in land costs.
Rawlins defended the use of public dollars for the facility, pointing to a study commissioned by the team that found an MLS team playing in a downtown stadium would produce a $1.3 billion economic impact over 30 years. Under the proposal being discussed, there would be no increase in hotel taxes, he said, and the sales taxes represent money generated by the stadium.
"This is a net positive for the community," Rawlins said.