Just as the Orlando Magic basketball team is winding up its season, Major League Soccer starts here this Sunday. Though ticket sales may not have been as brusque as basketball, soccer here and throughout the world has been fast growing. In fact, overall, soccer in the US now averages more fans than the NBA. It’s the most played sport in the world and now it is coming to Orlando via the Lions.
While thousands of screaming fans will watch the Orlando Magic take on the Boston Celtics at the Amway Center, a sold out crowd of 60,000 Orlando Soccer fans will be on hand Sunday at the newly remodeled Citrus Bowl to watch their own team called the Lions play its first ever match in MLS.
Here are upwards of a dozen tips to pass on to Orlando Soccer visitors:
- Downtown Orlando will be busier than ever this Sunday and transportation officials suggest this is an excellent time to take the Sunrail. The commuter train will offer free, limited service this Sunday, March 10th.
- Once arriving, visitors can use the Lynx Lymmo. The City offers convenient and free transportation on the Lymmo Orange and Grapefruit lines. There will also be the Orlando Citrus Bowl Shuttle, beginning at 1 p.m., a free shuttle available to transport fans to the Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium.
- For auto drivers, city officials are encouraging them to buy parking online in advance of Sunday’s events.
- For drivers, the most convenient option for parking is at the Citrus Bowl itself. It’s only $10 per car, but motorists will have to face traffic jams after the game. A better choice might be to park downtown and take a pedi-cab to the stadium.
- Soccer attendees will be far from alone. Sales have passed 13,000 season tickets, which is just short of the goal of 14,000 by opening day.
- The first game promises some inherent excitement in large part because it is new. But backers of the new team expect to average 20,000 ticket holders at later games. The soccer season runs through November.
- A player to watch is soccer superstar Kaka, who is also the team’s captain. A World Cup winner from Brazil, Kaka has more Facebook fans than LeBron James and is the most expensive player in Major League Soccer.
- Tickets are available for general admission or at the Club Level, where free food and drink is included as well as access to a Club Lounge.
- The Citrus Bowl is located just west of the Amway Center. It holds 65,000 seats, all of which may be filled at least for the first game.
- Looking for a tailgating group? They will be easy to find before kickoff everywhere. You can check the web sites for locations of two official supporter groups, Iron Lion and The Ruckus. They are both on Twitter and Facebook where more details and pre-party plans are detailed.
- Seat selection. There isn’t a bad seat in the house inside the Citrus Bowl, according to observers. But they also say that if you’re buying tickets for your family you probably won’t want to sit in a supporter section (south end of the stadium behind the goal). Spectators will want to be in a family friendly zone (mid-field level). For more raucous party fans who want to whoop it up, the Supporter Zone is recommended.
- Food and drink at the Citrus Bowl offers scores of concessions stands, beer tents, and seat service hot dogs, pizza and burgers. Those who leave hungry are not trying.
- How to show your fandom: wear purple or buy clothing sold here. Team chants are on websites to learn them ahead of time to sing along during the matches.
- There are a huge variety of events to usher in the new season, ranging from cocktail parties to fashion shows to foot races. Many of them are free. More details can be found at www.orlandocitysc.com/ockickoff