ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Orlando City SC has partnered with Exploria Resorts to become the first-ever naming rights partner for the Club’s 25,500 seat soccer-specific stadium located in the heart of Downtown Orlando. The stadium, which is the home to Orlando City of Major League Soccer and the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, will be known as Exploria Stadium. Exploria Resorts has also been named the Official Timeshare/Vacation Club of Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride.
“We are thrilled to have Exploria Resorts join the Orlando City SC family. As a Club based in the most visited city in the world, and one that has fans who support our teams around the globe, we are excited to partner with a Central Florida-based company that provides world-class travel and hospitality experiences to its visitors,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “We are looking forward to creating memorable experiences for our fans both at Exploria Resorts and here at Exploria Stadium.”
“For nearly 25 years, Exploria Resorts and its predecessors have been making vacation memories for our owners. Through our seven owned resorts and over 40 affiliates, our vacation club, Club Exploria, provides exciting and flexible vacation options for our 85,000 member families,” President and CEO of Exploria Resorts Thomas J. Morris said. “We are very excited about the new partnership between Exploria Resorts and Orlando City SC, as we recognize the appeal of soccer and the growth of MLS and the NWSL in both the Orlando community and on the international stage.”
Like the beautiful game, Exploria Resorts has been providing consumers with once-in-a-lifetime experiences around the globe. Summer Bay Orlando, the flagship property of Exploria Resorts is located on 400 sprawling acres just minutes from all of Orlando’s most popular attractions. The award-winning resort features five distinctive phased developments and is home to 719 one, two, three and four bedroom vacation home-like villas, condos and houses designed to fit every stage of a family’s vacation lifestyle.
“Exploria Stadium represents a unique opportunity to introduce our brand to sport and travel enthusiasts not only in Central Florida but throughout the U.S. and the world. We look forward to this long term partnership with Orlando City while providing exciting vacation opportunities to its fans and players,” Morris added.
Founded in 1995, the Clermont, Florida-based organization takes pride in its philanthropic endeavors, much like Orlando City SC. Through the newly-established partnership, Orlando City and Exploria Resorts will regularly join forces to give back to the Greater Orlando area, including support for the Orlando City Foundation’s annual and grassroots events.
The stadium has already hosted a number of marquee events during its short history, including two U.S. Men’s National Team matches, the 2018 SheBelieves Cup and the 2017 NCAA Women’s College Cup. In July, Exploria Stadium will be the site of Major League Soccer’s most star-studded event, the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. On Thursday, July 31, the biggest stars in the league will face Club Atlético de Madrid, one of the most-storied clubs in Spain’s La Liga. At the end of the year, Exploria Stadium will also host the 2019 Cure Bowl, marking the first non-soccer sporting event to take place at the venue since its opening in March 2017.
Orlando City opened its state-of-the-art, soccer-specific venue on March 5, 2017, seeing the Lions defeat New York City FC, 1-0, in front of a sellout crowd. Exploria Stadium features a 360-degree bowl design, which provides excellent views from any seat in the venue. The north end of the stadium is highlighted by “The Wall” - a 33-degree, standing-room only section that houses both the Lions’ and Pride’s supporter groups.
The Bermuda-grass field is set eight feet below street level, bringing fans even closer to the action, while the four-sided, metal canopy roof amplifies the crowd noise to create one of the toughest opposition environments in professional soccer.
“The partnership between the world-class Orlando City SC teams and Exploria Resorts, including the naming of this fantastic space, is representative of the incredible feelings experienced when both attending a live event in this beautiful stadium and when vacationing with Exploria Resorts,” Morris added. “We are excited to play a role in making memories that matter. That’s what we do at Exploria Resorts and that’s what soccer fans get when they attend Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches.”
To kick off the partnership, fans are invited to attend the House Party presented by Exploria Resorts on Saturday, June 15 at Exploria Stadium. The event is open to the public and will begin with an Orlando City training session at 10 a.m. Following the training, fans will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the 2019 Lions roster in a series of activations and activities around the stadium, such as live Q&A sessions, game zones and player autographs.
Fans who wish to attend the House Party are asked to RSVP at OrlandoCitySC.com/HouseParty.
The Orlando City Soccer Club contributed to this report.