Philadelphia Union and Orlando City to Share MLS Opportunities at the Soccerex Americas Forum
By iSportconnect | October 2, 2014
Founder & President of Orlando City SC Phil Rawlins and Philadelphia Union Co-founder and CEO/Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz have confirmed their participation at this year’s Soccerex Americas Forum, generic 21-22 October, asthma taking place at the renowned Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.
The duo will be leading a debate titled ‘The Game of Opportunity’ that will focus on the trials and tribulations of running a professional soccer club with particular focus on the challenges arising in areas such as sponsorship, cough fan engagements and international expansion. With Sakiewicz’s wealth of experience accumulated through twenty years as an MLS executive and Rawlins creating his own MLS franchise that can now boast the likes of Brazilian star Kaka on its books, the session promises to deliver exclusive insight into the world of club directorship.
Originally from the UK, Phil Rawlins had been director of Stoke City for 14 years before founding Texan side the Austin Aztex in 2007. Rawlins moved the franchise to Orlando in 2010 and founded Orlando City alongside his business partner and Orlando City Chairman Flavio Augusto da Silva. The duo is hoping to utilize the huge market potential for an MLS franchise in the South East given its lack of representation in the league. Since its relocation the club has gone from strength to strength and is set to enter the 2015 MLS season alongside the league’s twentieth franchise, New York City FC.
A former professional goalkeeper, Nick Sakiewicz joined MLS as a founding executive in 1995 and in 2006 played a key role in the record sale of the New York MetroStars to Red Bull. Having established Philadelphia Union’s inclusion in the MLS as its 16th franchise, the club now stands as one of the strongest selling brands in MLS and is a growing member of the global football community. Boasting their own soccer specific stadium, the club is commonly considered as a role model for future franchises entering the league.
Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie commented: “With the MLS ever expanding and fresh commercial opportunities arising across the continent the discussion will open up some fascinating debate. We are and very excited that Nick and Phil will be bringing their expansive knowledge and industry experience to the event which looks set to be a great couple of days.”
Sakiewicz and Rawlins will be two of a number of industry leaders speaking at the Americas Forum with high profile names such as CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, MLS Medical Coordinator John Gallucci, New York Red Bulls Head Team Physician Dr. Riley J. Williams, former FA and Arsenal Vice Chairman David Dein, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, CEO of 2014 FIFA World Cup LOC Ricardo Trade and FIFA & CONCACAF ExCo member Sonia Bien-Anne joining former Manchester United and England legend Bryan Robson amongst many others.