3rd September 2014
Hal’s Orlando City Marketing Placement
I was really excited about the opportunity to intern with Orlando City’s marketing department. I also didn’t know what to expect from the trip as I had never been to the United States before.
I must admit I was a bit reticent about the 9-hour plane journey from Manchester to Orlando, but in the end I was pleased with the journey as it was comfortable, had plenty of entertainment options and regular food & drink service.
When Ben and I arrived in Orlando the first thing that struck me was the heat. It is hard to describe if you have never been to Florida, but the feeling was a bit like opening an oven door.
After being taken back to our accommodation by Alex, the apartment owner, we spent the evening settling in to our temporary home and were surprised to discover the building is also used by some Orlando Magic players.
On Friday morning we were collected by Orlando City’s Marketing Coordinator, John Rawlins and introduced to members of staff at the club’s stylish new offices. Our first day of work began with some admin work before we were set our first research task. With Orlando City soon to launch a new kit in time for their inaugural MLS season, we researched what other MLS clubs had done when bringing out their first kit.
It was interesting to discover the different approaches taken by other teams with some opting for low key events and some going for more high profile methods including revealing giant jerseys inside packed stadiums.
Saturday would be the first of two home games that took place during our time in America and the first to visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports were the Charlotte Eagles who were comprehensively seen off 4-1 as Orlando clinched a play-off spot.
Before the game, as part of Team City, Ben and I were instructed to sign supporters up to a competition in which they could win signed merchandise as fans descended on the game at a much slower pace than we are used to seeing in the UK.
Our other match day responsibilities included aiding half time pitch presentations and handing out flyers to people leaving the venue.
Sunday was our first opportunity to relax and explore the area so we travelled to the Orlando City training pitches and were impressed by the size of the complex as well as the standard of the Orlando City youth players.
The many training pitches were in superb condition and the kids seemed full of enthusiasm about the sport which was encouraging.
After a relaxing Sunday, I had overcome my jet lag and was ready for my first full week with the Orlando City marketing department. The week started with a staff meeting in which club President Phil Rawlins announced that the proposed site of the new stadium had been moved slightly due to a local dispute.
The announcement was good news for everyone associated with the club who had been anxious for work to get underway on the new facility in time for the 2016 MLS season.
Part of the first week consisted of researching and producing a timeline about the MLS All-Star week which was currently taking place in Portland. Staff at Orlando City could look into launching a bid to host the MLS All-Star week in the future and further build the club’s profile.
After a week of office based work we decided to use the weekend to get a taste of what Florida was all about; firstly travelling to Jacksonville on the Friday night to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before
visiting a water park on the Saturday and Universal Studios on the Sunday.
With an area of land now secured for the new stadium, we were instructed to look into what other MLS teams had done at their ground-breaking ceremonies as Orlando City would be looking to hold one in the near future.
On our final day in the office we were tasked with the daunting challenge of taking down a gigantic Kaka poster which was displayed near the freeway. This was a good example of the wide range of jobs working with a football club allows you to participate in, however in the end, our team of ten decided the poster would require more preparation to take down and would have to wait.
I was determined to make the most of my final weekend in Orlando and, after going to the famous Disney Hollywood resort on Friday night, I got up early the following morning to watch the opening game of the Premier League season before heading to our second and last Orlando City home game.
City triumphed 3-1 this time as Ben and I performed similar duties to what we did at the first game such as collecting data and handing out flyers.
Before I knew it, my final day in the USA was upon me as I packed my belongings and said goodbye to one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. I hope to return to Orlando one day and see the progress the club has made in such a short space of time as they have some big and exciting plans for the future.
Written by Hal Boxhall-Dockree – BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student at UCFB