The Jan. 29 NFL Pro Bowl is kicking off with numerous events this week, building up excitement for fans and the economic impact the signature event is expected to score in Orlando.
“We estimate at least $50 million-$60 million of economic activity” for the week, Mayor Buddy Dyer said at the Jan. 23 Fans First Teammate Rally at Camping World Stadium.
Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan added that “the economic impact is important, but the exposure and brand impact are invaluable to us.”
Orlando won the bid to host the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018, with an option for 2019, after the Orange County Tourist Development Council last year approved using $3 million in resort taxes to help bid for the event. “We have a contract for two [years] and an option for a third, but I’m hopeful this is a long-term permanent engagement,” Dyer said.
The Pro Bowl has been held outside of Hawaii only twice before.
NFL Director of Events Matthew Shapiro said the NFL has kept its eye on Orlando's Camping World Stadium, which completed a $207 million renovation/modernization in 2015. “We were here during the preseason for the Dolphins and Falcons game. It was a great sort of dry run for what the Pro Bowl will be — it held up really well,” Shapiro said. (See the slideshow for a look at the Dolphins vs. Falcons pre-season game.)
NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O’Reilly previously told Orlando Business Journal that the renovation of Camping World Stadium was a huge factor in why Orlando was chosen to host the NFL Pro Bowl. “If it wasn’t for the renovation of Camping World Stadium being one of many factors, we may have picked a different location."
O’Reilly said other factors in whether or not the Pro Bowl will be in Orlando a third year include a sold-out attendance, making sure the players and their families have a great experience, as well as how the youth and high school community’s relationship resonates here in Orlando.
Meanwhile, Orlando can expect more sports events to come to town in the next couple of years. “The Central Florida Sports Commission has, I think, 50 proposals in for NCAA championship events for over the next three years,” Dyer said, adding that he thinks Orlando will become be a premiere sports destination.
After the Pro Bowl, Wrestlemania is the next big event scheduled for Camping World Stadium, on April 2.
Source: Orlando Sentinel