North America’s Major League Soccer will welcome its latest stadium on Sunday when Orlando City hosts New York City FC on the opening weekend of the 2017 season.
The 25,500-capacity Orlando City Stadium will also serve as the home of the club’s sister team, the Orlando Pride, which competes in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Each of the stadium’s four main stands are designed with metal deck canopy roofs that are designed to amplify the atmosphere. The gradient of the stands is also at the maximum level allowed for an American stadium in a move to enhance the bowl aspect of the ground’s interior.
Orlando City Stadium will also set a first for a major American sporting venue with its all-standing section, which will be located in the North Stand. The section will house 3,811 fans and has been earmarked as a spot for the club’s main supporters’ groups.
Other features of the ground include a range of luxury suites and 583 wireless access points, which will allow fans to access free Wi-Fi from anywhere in the stadium.
In addition, the stadium will pay tribute to the 49 people who were killed during last year’s shooting incident at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. As a mark of respect, the club has fitted 49 rainbow-coloured seats in the lower level of the West Stand.
Orlando City is captained by Kaká, a World Cup winner with Brazil and formerly the most expensive footballer on the planet.
Sunday will mark the first time Kaká has opened a new stadium and he is looking forward to the experience. He said: “It’s amazing. It’s amazing. It’s very good. It’s my first time in a brand new stadium. I’ve played in a lot of stadiums… but to have this opportunity to play in the brand new one is great.”