By Jacqueline Kooser
On January 26th, the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter gathered in the heart of Downtown Orlando to take a hard hat tour of the new Orlando City Soccer Club (OCS) stadium. As members buckled into their helmets and zippered up their safety vests, OCS Senior Director of Communications, Jackie Ramos, shared insightful information about all of the public relations efforts that have not only gone into the construction of this stadium, but the overall success of the OCS organization as a whole.
From working with her team to make a media event out of every fan experience, to having conversations with current local media outlets to ensure that they are included in big news – the OCS communications team has been hard at work for the past few years in order to get them to where they are now.
Walking into the new stadium with the construction crew started off by heading up a few levels to show us the field. The first thing members saw as they gazed out over the turf was the ‘ORLANDO’ text covering the wall of purple seats on the opposite side. Behind it, the skyline of the City Beautiful. It all came together – the lights, the big screen, the crazy crowd section and the skyline – it was like a painting of what Orlando stands for – community. As we toured the offices, future restrooms and eating areas, the construction crew’s pride for their hard work beamed through their smiles.
As they took our members down to the field, to be face to face with the turf, I couldn’t help but think how awesome it was to be getting this back stage experience from a team that was so genuinely proud to show their hard work to us. While down on the field, we were able to take a look at section 12. This section has been color coded in rainbow order in honor of the 49 lives taken from our city this past June. Seeing the seats with the #OrlandoUnited text on each chair made me realize that this stadium, the construction crew, and all the communication efforts put into it, isn’t just for our city’s soccer team. It’s for the people, the city, that has helped bring this organization to reach their goals: becoming an MLS team with a home of their own.
After the tour, members headed to the Broken Cauldron for food and drinks. We talked about work, the tour, our lives outside of the office – we connected, just like our city continues to do over and over again, whether it is over tragedy or triumph.
January’s event wasn’t just about public relations – it was about being together, supporting our city and supporting one another. Thanks for the experience, Orlando!