MLS Playoffs Approaching: Do We Know Where Fan Interest is For Orlando City


Big match tonight for Orlando City – Columbus is one of the top teams in MLS

With 38 points apiece, a one-win advantage is the only thing keeping the Crew ahead of the Lions in the No. 3 slot in the table. A win would clinch Orlando City’s spot in the top four of the conference, moving them up one more slot in the final week of the regular season. (OrlandoSentinel.com)

We asked this question the other day, and I want to bring it back to light, because it’s just so hard to tell where you all are at on this. Where is the excitement for Orlando City?

Typically we would judge fan support and excitement by ticket sales, stadium capacity, what the scene looks like in downtown Orlando, and all of that. The buzz for Orlando City can be felt in the streets when it’s there and palpable. But, for obvious reasons, we can’t use that as a gauge. We can’t pack the streets, we can’t pack stadiums, and we can’t pack bars. Yet, here we are with Orlando’s most successful sports franchise, currently, with no real metric to gauge how it’s resonating among its fans (or potential fans).

Clearly they have hardcore support, but, we’ve always been curious as to when or how the casual supporter would latch on. Winning is a great way to do it, but we don’t really know if its working. The team doesn’t report their apparel sales to my knowledge, radio ratings are good in general as we can attest as the home of the Lions, but game to game ratings on radio is tough to track. TV ratings should we use that as a metric? I can’t tell you what Orlando City does as an isolated # in Orlando, but I can tell you, MLS support is down on networks.

MLS TV numbers hovering above the minimum for any live sports event broadcasted on ESPN or FS. In fact, according to theguardian.com: The average TV audience for the tournament charted at 226,000 per game (not counting streaming and Spanish-language viewership), a figure lower than the league’s average TV audience for the 2019 season as a whole (260,000). That means, in a pandemic, where fans can’t go to the games as much as they’d be able to in the past, they’re just turning off the product entirely, or they just found something else to watch.

But, to be honest, this isn’t how Orlando City should be judged…and frankly, I’m not sure how they should be judged, so I asked you. (Twitter poll below)

Orlando City SC v Inter Miami CF

photo: getty images


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