ORLANDO, Fla. — Does Orlando have room for Major League Baseball's Orlando Dreamers?
- Magic co-founder had idea after seeing possible MLB city expansion
- He wants to know Central Florida's interest in MLB team in Orlando
- Williams proposes name Orlando Dreamers, unveils feedback website
That's the question Orlando Magic cofounder Pat Williams hopes to answer.
During a news conference at the Dubsdread Golf Course ballroom Wednesday morning, he said it's time for The City Beautiful to try to become an MLB city.
Williams said he recently heard that the league was considering expanding to 32 teams, with considerations for Nashville, Las Vegas, Portland, Montreal, and others, but he wondered why not Orlando?
A planning committee was expected to form to bring in a MLB team to Orlando, but major questions remain, including where will the stadium be placed, if there is one, and who will pay for it?
Bringing a baseball team to Orlando may also fill a potential hole for the sport in Central Florida. As Spectrum Sports 360 previously said, the future is uncertain for the minor-league Daytona Tortugas. Reports show they could be one of 42 teams cut from Minor League Baseball in 2021.
When Williams retires from day to day operations with the Magic in May, he said he still believed in his heart Orlando was a baseball town and said it was still a goal of his to bring one in.
Williams proposes calling Orlando's team the Dreamers, after visionaries who have influenced the Central Florida area such as Walt Disney. He encourages people to go to OrlandoDreamers.com to provide feedback.
Florida already has two Major League Baseball teams: the American League's Tampa Bay Rays and the National League's Miami Marlins, both of which were near the bottom of the league's attendance rankings this past season. The Marlins failed to crack 1 million fans despite a state-of-the-art stadium not yet eight years old.
As for the Rays, there has been talk of the team relocating, and they've even entertained the idea of splitting their seasons between Montreal and St. Petersburg — a proposal that hasn't gained much traction.
Williams thinks Orlando's market differs from St. Pete and Miami and that the local talent, combined with up to 80 million tourists a year passing through the area, will help fill a ballpark. He also said he's open to having Orlando serve as a potential relocation city for a franchise.
But with his aim of a commitment of up to a quarter-million people and up to 40,000 potential season ticket-holders, the Orlando Dreamers are a long way off from becoming reality.