The Amway center, home of the Orlando Magic held the 2012 NBA All-Star events this past weekend and people from everywhere came out to enjoy the festivities. With the Amway center being a few blocks from its previous location, many wonder if the fancier six stories high upgrade and $1.1 billion spent was really necessary when the Florida Citrus Bowl has yet to be updated. The Florida Citrus Bowl was supposed to see a $175 million renovation but when is the question on many people’s minds. Fortunately, all of the money that Orlando received this weekend may go towards these renovations. President of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, Richard Maladeki also mentioned how All-Star weekend has confirmed that sports are critical in our overall economy.
Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said that recent turf and bathroom upgrades at the bowl have helped but are not enough to compete with newer stadiums. Unlike many other states, the stadium has no resident football team, but it is the home field for the Orlando City soccer club and hosts the Capital One Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and Florida Classic, as well as motor sports, concerts and touring shows. Being that the Citrus bowl holds all of these events, Orange County must keep in mind that these spectators want to be comfortable and they deserve a stadium that accommodates them. The renovation plan, which has been delayed three years, calls for new lower-bowl seating; 4,000 club seats; 10 new suites; banquet space; a ballroom; and new restrooms, locker rooms and concession stands. Bowl boosters are in support of the upgrading process to begin, but Hogan said he also needs clearer timelines on when they could begin before he starts negotiations for new long-term bowl contracts this fall.
After learning of constant renovation delays, I feel that Orange County may have shown favoritism for the renovations of the Amway Center because of NBA recognition. Being that the citrus bowl only holds bowl games and soccer games, it doesn’t provide Orange County with as much revenue as the Orlando Magic. In my view, renovations of the citrus bowl may encourage other sporting and entertainment events to be held at the citrus bowl therefore bringing in more revenue for the city and county. At this point, all we can do is hope that there are no more renovation delays and that the Citrus Bowl no longer has to patiently wait for an upgrade.