The People Running Orlando’s Football Stadium Are Seeking $800 Million In Public Funding For A Venue Upgrade

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The stadium lacks amenities.

Does anybody working in Florida government have about $800 million from some taxpayers account to help out a struggling stadium in Orlando? That’s the number of dollars needed to transform the 87-year-old stadium that was built as a result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration’s efforts to create construction jobs during the Great Depression. The original structure had 8,900 seats. The stadium has had eight upgrades since 1936 and now seats a little more than 60,000 people. But the stadium is struggling to attract major college football games and concerts. The Citrus Bowl and the Florida Classic are two of the bigger college football games played in the venue. The stadium is the home of the XFL’s Guardians and another college bowl game.

But the people who run the stadium want to get a major college football bowl game and big-name concert performers in the building and the only way that can be done according to the building operators is by modernizing the structure starting with a canopy roof. The would be an upgrade of the upper bowl and the adding of about 100,000 square feet of space. Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan thinks the upgrades would allow Orlando to compete with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross’s South Florida football facility for events. “They got World Cup. We got passed over for World Cup. We tried to get Army Navy, got passed over for that. We’re not getting the (big) concerts and shows. They’ve had multiple Super Bowls and national championships,” Hogan said. “Again, we don’t need a three-billion-dollar stadium to do it. A roof has done it for Miami. A roof would do it for Orlando.” Hogan claimed the stadium would be an economic engine which is the usual reason stadium executives give as a reason to invest public money in a venue.

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Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) celebrates after taking the final snap of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game win against Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)