Home Airports Opinion: MCO Is Suing MLB? That’s Just Silly! Here’s Why.

Opinion: MCO Is Suing MLB? That’s Just Silly! Here’s Why.

by SharonKurheg

Not long ago, Lucky (Ben) from One Mile At A Time wrote an article about GOAA (The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which represents MCO and Orlando Executive Airport) suing Orlando Melbourne International Airport, claiming that the name “Orlando-Melbourne International Airport” is false and deceptive advertising.

The lawsuit asks the court to permanently stop Melbourne’s aviation board from using the word “Orlando” in MLB’s name, advertising or promotional materials, to display a retraction statement on its website for at least one year and to pay damages and attorney’s fees.

The lawsuit states that, “By causing a likelihood of confusion, mistake and deception, MLB is inflicting irreparable harm on the goodwill symbolized by GOAA’s Orlando International Airport Trademark and the reputation for quality that it embodies.”

Friends, I live in Orlando and trust me when I say that MCO is making a mountain out of a molehill with this lawsuit. Here’s why…

MCO is growing by leaps and bounds and in the past few years has gone from being the 14th busiest airport in the country to the 11th busiest one. Multiple huge airlines fly in and out of MCO…Delta, United, American, Southwest, JetBlue, etc. To say nothing of international carriers up the ying yang.

Do you know what airlines fliy in and out of Melbourne?

  • American Airlines (Flight since 2010, all to/from PHL and CLT)
  • Delta Air Lines (Flights since 1983, all to/from ATL)
  • Elite Airways (Flights since 2014, 1-3 times times a week to/from IAD)
  • Porter Airlines (Flights since 2015, 1-2 times a week)
  • SunCountry (Once a month)

That’s all.

Last year I posted about when MCO was in “discussion” with Melbourne and Sanford regarding the names they use (Sanford has also has been using the word “Orlando” in its name for the past few years), and I posed the question to several FB groups based out of the U.S. and the U.K.: “Were you ever confused with the names of the 3 airports?” Maybe 1 in 20 responses said it confused them, and even then they mentioned that they didn’t know the other 2 airports’ names because the airlines they flew didn’t go there.

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Melbourne is a small, local airport with 1 restaurant, 1 gift shop, 1 ATM and 3 each of mens’ & womens’ restrooms. It averages between 7 and 11 each of arrivals and departures per day, and serviced slightly over 200,000 passengers between April 2017 and March 2018, 167,000 of which were Delta flights to/from Atlanta. As a comparison, MCO serviced over 43,000,000 passengers in 2017, and nearly 48,000,000 in 2018.

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As a Florida resident who travels throughout the U.S. several times a year, I’ve never seen ANY advertising for MLB (although I occasionally see ads for them being close to the Port Canaveral terminal for cruises, which would make sense…Melbourne is on the Atlantic coast), nor have I seen ads, not even from their largest airline, Delta, suggesting that it’s a good flight if you want to go to Walt Disney World.

In other words, MLB is absolutely NO threat to MCO’s tourist/theme park traffic whatsoever, whether they use the word “Orlando” in their name or not.

I like MCO, I really do. But really, those 200,000 passengers MLB gets instead of MCO (that’s less than 1/2 of 1% of what MCO gets) is not going to make or break them – and has nothing to do with MLB having the word “Orlando” in their name. This lawsuit just smacks too much of Big Business trying to make sure it gets every single piece of business it can. Just like Amazon. Just like Walmart. I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount of money they’re spending on this lawsuit is many times more than the dollar amount of business they’re losing because of “confused” passengers.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Brian Cohen April 18, 2019 - 9:10 am

Next thing you know, Major League Baseball will sue the airport for using MLB as the official airport code.

I flew into Melbourne when only Delta Air Lines served it from Atlanta — I believe that was only four flights per day; and that was it. Traffic has since grown at that little airport — and perhaps future growth is about what the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority is concerned.

I have also driven on the 70 miles of United States Highway 192 between Orlando and Interstate 95 numerous times, which takes an hour and 15 minutes without traffic — much of which is traveling through the middle of nowhere and is even worse at night with no lights — and I personally believe that using Orlando in the name of the airport which serves the greater Melbourne metropolitan area is indeed a stretch.

SharonKurheg April 18, 2019 - 10:15 am

Every single time I typed MLB, I thought of baseball 😉

And yeah, it is a LONG drive – Joe and I just did it this past Sunday night on the way back from Ft. Lauderdale (Waze suggestion. I dunno what was up with the Tnpk but it had been pouring at one point, so…). But based on their reporting, the local news appear to consider the area to be the outskirts of Central Florida, so…? (yet towards the east they only count up to the closer side of Lakeland and everything else is considered part of Tampa).

Maybe they are considering future growth…but it’s a rinky dink airport in, not the middle of nowhere, but almost as such when you compare it to Central FL. Growth at the beaches and cruises is always going to be “so much” – I don’t see there being that much growth.

Tom April 18, 2019 - 9:15 am

My guess is that MCO is thinking about the future. If SFB or MLB expand, and the Orlando moniker becomes a problem then, the lesser airports could say in court that the precedent was set, because they had been using the name without challenge long enough for it to be a settled issue. On the other hand, I don’t think it will ever be a real problem, and MCO doesn’t always do the smartest things with their money. Have you seen the elaborate, yet somehow passé-looking, TV ads they air during the Orlando Magic games? Spending that kind of money on the one audience that you don’t need to spend it on — locals who already know what MCO is and what its facilities are — is just silly.

SharonKurheg April 18, 2019 - 10:18 am

Good point for precedent but I agree that I think their and Sanford’s growth being that much where it would be a problem is pretty small.

Orlando Magic…that’s sportsing right? 😉 No, haven’t seen those commercials 😉

Busyman April 18, 2019 - 9:23 am

I agree it is petty. The thing is, MLB is about 60 miles to the edge of Orlando. Renaming yourself to something you aren’t even close to is a bit ridiculous.

However, it’s close enough that PASSENGERS should be able to decide. Maybe a person wants Disney annnnnd the beach and won’t mind driving the hour to Disney to have beachfront home base.

The argument that they don’t have many flights is not a good one since, their intention is to grow.

Frankly, I’d rather have the competition. If hotels nearby had stay and cruise packages, I might fly there for Port Canaveral cruises over MCO even though they have similar drive times.

More competition is better for consumers.


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