Photo via Orlando Citrus Bowl Facebook
Move over Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville; Orlando is breaking into the NFL market.
Steve Hogan, the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, the company that oversees the Citrus Bowl, told the Orlando Sentinel
that he is guaranteeing NFL games will be played in the stadium starting next year.
"I promise you, I guarantee you, we will have NFL football in this stadium in 2017 — one way or another," Hogan says. "We're absolutely focused on that and we're going to be back in the (NFL) business."
In the past, the Citrus Bowl has hosted NFL preseason games, but Hogan says he's talking about regular season games taking place in Orlando.
Although Hogan has talked to all three Florida NFL teams—the Miami Dolphins, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—about hosting games at the stadium, NBC Sports
says that the Dolphins would almost certainly be out.
Miami taxpayers just spent a fortune renovating the Dolphin's stadium, so it's unlikely they would want to give up a home game.
NBC was also skeptical that the Bucs and the Jaguars would risk alienating fans by having them travel about 100 miles to see a regular season game in Orlando.
But, the Sentinel
points out that even though Orlando is only two hours away, the Jaguars regularly play a game in London, even though Central Florida is by far its biggest television market.
Plus, with Oviedo High School and UCF product Blake Bortles now the face of the team, the Jaguars could tap into the many residents itching to see a local legend.