Disney and the Central Florida Sports Commission are trying to build a soccer spring training, but will they come?
The Orlando Sentinel reported some of the details of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic that the Crew will be attending as part of their preseason training. The State of Florida will be fronting up to a million dollars to bring in six MLS teams, including the Black and Gold.
The Crew will receive a $30,000 appearance fee to attend what Disney hopes is the beginnings of an MLS "Spring Training". The team also has access to subsidized vacation packages for soccer hungry fans to make the trip to central Florida. Teams will receive a part of each sale they make, up to an additional $75,000.
Several Crew fans have already reported getting messages from a travel agency in reference to vacation packages centered around the February event. The team commented earlier tonight that those phone calls were part of opted in "promotional messages" as part of the VIP package contest that fans entered earlier this month.
As part of the Pro Soccer Classic, Disney is also putting on an week long free agent trial event with teams obliged to send a scout to watch the players trying out for a contract. There is an additional college combine where agents and scouts will be on hand in hopes they'll dole out a pro contract.
The event will also have several fan friendly events where players and coaches are scheduled for autograph and meet and greet sessions.
The Disney Company and the Central Florida Sports Commission are spearheading the effort to build the idea of an annual event. They are bankrolling professional clubs to come in to highlight the event, but are also trying to make it worth while for fans and the teams involved. A multi team tourney and trial days are enticing for teams and a trip to watch soccer in the shadow of Disney World will attract at least some fans. It will be interesting to see if it's ultimately uccessful.