SBD/Issue 176/Facilities & Venues

Citrus Bowl Struggles To Lure Neutral-Site Football Games

Orlando's Citrus Bowl Needs Major Renovations
Before It Can Begin To Lure Neutral-Site Games

Orlando "cannot lure marquee college football matchups with its woefully out-of-date Citrus Bowl," which last hosted a "marquee FBS regular-season game" when Notre Dame played Navy at the venue in '00, according to Andrea Adelson of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Though the Citrus Bowl receiving $10M in "initial renovations is a nice measure, it is going to do nothing to get Orlando into the neutral-site game," and "this is the worst time for the Citrus Bowl to be lagging behind its competitors." Neutral-site games are "in vogue once again," as during this upcoming season "there will be some 23 games played outside home stadiums across the country, up from 13 in 2007." Univ. of Phoenix Stadium is one of the venues that "wants a piece" of the action, as it was announced last week that the facility "would begin to court teams to play a neutral-site game there." Adelson noted Orlando is losing between $30-40M in "potential economic impact because it cannot draw teams," and adding "just one more game would make a tremendous difference to the economy." Miami and Notre Dame "are in talks to renew their rivalry at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2012," and Orlando "should have been a player for that one." Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said of neutral-site games, "I want to look at our facility and I want to be on the road this summer, talking to coaches and athletic directors and be proud of what we have to offer here." But Adelson wrote Hogan "has more to worry about than luring neutral-site games." He "must worry about keeping what the Citrus Bowl now has while tap dancing around the inevitable question -- when are those renovations going to be done?" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/24).

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