Orlando City's New Fan Section Will Make Them The Class Of The MLS
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There was a time when simply building a soccer specific stadium was setting the bar. Then came the era of enclosed-seaters around 20,000 following the same mold, like Sporting KC, Houston and Dallas. In today’s MLS world, a statement is needed in order to make an impact. Welcome to the "Purple Wall," MLS’s great new attraction.
Depending on your interest or age the phase "The Wall" can mean many different things. The Berlin Wall in Germany, or perhaps that which protects the Seven Kingdoms if you are a fan of Game of Thrones. But in the world of soccer, "The Wall" is German, it is yellow and it resides in Dortmund.
The oppressing noise and passion that rains down from the Borussia Dortmund fans in an impressive and enviable sight. Outside of a packed stadium of 60,000 in Seattle, the MLS lacks these marque environments. Orlando is about to change that in 2017.
The uniqueness of the feature is not just that it is massive and purple, or that it will look beautiful on MLS national TV broadcasts. The design is such that fans are standing the entire game. Regardless of passion, situation or elements, when fans are standing they are more involved in the match.
The all-standing-stands have a very difficult history throughout Europe (FIFA and UEFA have banned them in international competition) and have completely removed from England. While many fan groups and even some clubs have discussed their return the game, the FA has remained opposed. However, given the years of stadium improvements, safety measures and population attending matches these days, it may be time to reconsider.
MLS, and the rest of American sports, has nothing like this. Fans stand up at big plays, last-moment passes or shots, or after a score. If Orlando does this right, they could have 8-10,000 fans clad in purple standing, cheering and singing the entire match.
Orlando’s new home will "seat" 28,000 and have the club feeling like a new franchise even after just two years in the MLS. Expect to see a lot of the Purple Wall on ESPN and FS1 throughout 2017.