Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

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This article is about the football stadium. For the bowl game of the same name played there from 1983-2002, see Capital One Bowl.
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
Fifth Third Bank Field
An aerial view of the Citrus Bowl looking south
Former names Orlando Stadium (1936–1946)
Tangerine Bowl (1947–1975)
Citrus Bowl (1976)
Orlando Stadium (1977–1982)
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium (1983–present)
Location 1 Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando, Florida 32805
Coordinates 28°32′21″N 81°24′10″W / 28.53917°N 81.40278°W / 28.53917; -81.40278Coordinates: 28°32′21″N 81°24′10″W / 28.53917°N 81.40278°W / 28.53917; -81.40278
Owner City of Orlando
Operator Orlando Venues
Capacity 65,438[1] (through 2013; expandable to 70,229)
61,348[2] (2014 reno.; expandable to 65,194)
Field size 120 yds × 53.3 yds (football)
114 yds × 74 yds (soccer)
Surface AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D (2010–present)
Grass (1936–2009)
Construction
Broke ground 1936
Opened 1936
Construction cost $115,000
$38 million (renovation)

($1.95 million in 2014 dollars[3])
Renovations: ($72.3 million in 2014 dollars[3])
Tenants
Capital One Bowl (NCAA) (1947-1972,1974-present)
Russell Athletic Bowl (NCAA) (2001–present)
Florida Classic (NCAA) (1997–present)
MEAC/SWAC Challenge (2008–2013, 2015)
Orlando City SC (MLS) (2015)
Orlando City (USL Pro) (2011–2013)
UCF Knights football (NCAA) (1979–2006)
Orlando Broncos (SFL) (1962–1963)
Orlando Panthers (CFL) (1966–1970)
Florida Blazers (WFL) (1974)
Orlando Americans (AFA) (1981)
Orlando Renegades (USFL) (1985)
Orlando Thunder (WLAF) (1991–1992)
1994 FIFA World Cup
Orlando Sundogs (A-League) (1997)
Drum Corps International (1996–1998, 2003)
Orlando Rage (XFL) (2001)
Jones High School football
WrestleMania XXIV (WWE) (2008)
Florida Tuskers (UFL) (2009–2010)
East-West Shrine Game (NCAA) (CIS) (2010–2011)
Orlando Fantasy ((LFL)) (2011)

The Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium (formerly Orlando Stadium, Tangerine Bowl, and the Citrus Bowl) is an outdoor-sports stadium in Orlando, Florida, USA. The stadium is located in Downtown Orlando, home to a new sports and performing arts area that also features the Amway Center, a new performing center, and the Orlando City Stadium.[4]

The stadium is the current home of the Capital One Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Florida Classic between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, and Monster Jam. The stadium was built for football, and seats 65,437.[1] In the past, it has served as home of several alternate-league American football teams. From 2011 to 2013, it was the home of the Orlando City Soccer Club, a soccer team in USL Pro.[5] From 1979 to 2006, it served as the home of the UCF Knights football team. It was also one of the nine venues used for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

On February 15, 2013, it was announced that Fifth Third Bank had purchased naming rights to the field for Orlando City matches. Its name during those will be Fifth Third Bank Field at the Citrus Bowl.

History[edit]

Construction on the stadium began in 1936 as a project of the Works Progress Administration under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.[6] The stadium was built to the immediate east of the baseball park Tinker Field, which opened in 1914. The stadium opened later in 1936 with a capacity of 8,900 as Orlando Stadium. The first college football game was played on January 1, 1947. Catawba defeated Maryville 31–6. Two thousand seats were added in 1952. During this period, the stadium was known as the Tangerine Bowl. Five thousand more seats were added in 1968, along with the first press box. From 1974–76 the capacity was raised to 52,000. A capacity of 65,438 was established in 1989, after a $38 million renovation that added the upper decks. In 1983, the Florida Department of Citrus was added as a title sponsor for the facility, at a price of $250,000. From 1999 to 2002, key stadium improvements included the addition of contour seating, two escalators, and a new 107-foot (33 m) wide video screen. A new sound system, along with two full-color displays along the upper decks, was also added. Expansion of the stadium resulted in the upper deck overhanging Tinker Field's right field area, albeit at a significant height.

Football[edit]

The Citrus Bowl has been home field to several short-lived professional football teams. In 1974, the Florida Blazers of the World Football League played their only season in existence at the Tangerine Bowl. The USFL's Orlando Renegades played one season in 1985. The Orlando Thunder of the WLAF called the Citrus Bowl home in their two-season existence (1991–1992), the XFL's Orlando Rage played there in 2001, the UFL's Florida Tuskers, who played 2 seasons (2009–2010) before moving to Virginia Beach, Virginia as the Virginia Destroyers in 2011, and the Orlando Fantasy of the Lingerie Football League moved to the stadium in 2011 (after playing its previous two years in UCF Arena).

Several National Football League preseason football games have been held at the stadium, including the Buccaneers versus Jets in 1997. Several neutral field regular season college football games have been held at the facility; notable games include Florida vs. Mississippi State and Florida State vs. Notre Dame on November 12, 1994.

The varsity football team from Jones High School uses the Citrus Bowl as a regular season home field, as it does not have a home stadium to call its own; the school has an agreement with the City of Orlando to use the facility.

Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, was the first college to use the then named Orlando Stadium as is home field. It played there prior to and after World War II.

Soccer[edit]

The playing surface is large enough for use in international soccer matches, and it was a venue for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. In five matches, attendance averaged over 60,000 per match. In 1996, Olympic soccer matches in both the men's and women's competitions were held at the stadium.

It hosted the USISL A-League Orlando Sundogs in 1997. It also hosted the Major League Soccer All-Star Game in 1998. Its most recent high-level soccer game was on January 13, 2008, between Chivas de Guadalajara of the Mexican Premier Division and Deportivo Cali of Colombian Professional Football. Chivas won, 2–1, before 15,121 fans.[7]

The stadium was the home of Orlando City S.C., a soccer team in the USL Pro league. In 2013, the investment group that owns that club was awarded an expansion team in Major League Soccer. Orlando City SC is building their own soccer-specific stadium, but will play at the Citrus Bowl until Orlando City Stadium is ready in 2016.

Orlando City played their final USL Pro match at the Citrus Bowl on September 6, 2013. They won the USL Pro Championship over Charlotte Eagles, 7-4, before a crowd of 20,886.[8]The last soccer event held at the Citrus Bowl before its renovation was an international friendly between the women's teams of the United States and Brazil. The U.S. won the match, 4-1, before a crowd of 20,274.[9]

1994 FIFA World Cup matches[edit]

Dat Time (EDT) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Spectators
June 19, 1994 12.30  Belgium 1–0  Morocco Group F 61,219
June 24, 1994 12.30  Republic of Ireland 1–2  Mexico Group E 60,790
June 25, 1994 12.30  Belgium 1–0  Netherlands Group F 62,387
June 29, 1994 12.30  Morocco 1–2  Netherlands 60,578
July 4, 1994 12.00  Netherlands 2–0  Republic of Ireland Round of 16 61,355

1996 Olympic Football Men's tournament matches[edit]

Dat Time (EDT) Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 20, 1996 18:30  Spain 1–0  Saudi Arabia Group B 28,774
July 21, 1996 18:30  Nigeria 1–0  Hungary Group D 25,303
July 22, 1996 18:30  France 1–1  Spain Group B 16,773
July 23, 1996 20:30  Nigeria 2–0  Japan Group D 22,734
July 24, 1996 19:00  Spain 3–2  Australia Group B 12,050
July 25, 1996 20:30  Japan 3–2  Hungary Group D 20,834

1996 Olympic Football Women's tournament matches[edit]

Dat Time (EDT) Team #1 Result Team #2 Round Spectators
July 21, 1996 16:00  United States 2–0  Denmark Group A 25,303
July 23, 1996 18:00  United States 2–1  Sweden 28,000
July 25, 1996 18:30  Denmark 1–3  Sweden 17,020

1998 MLS All-Star Game[edit]

Date Team #1 Result Team #2 Spectators
August 2, 1998 United States MLS USA 6-1 United Nations MLS WORLD 34,416

Concerts[edit]

On April 14, 1979, the "Tangerine Bowl" hosted the Florida World Music Festival. The concert was commonly known as "Florrida Jam", named after previous festivals in other states like California Jam and Texxas Jam. The spelling of Florida used two R's like the Texxas Jam that used two X's and preceded it. Acts included Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, Brownsville Station and Blackfoot. Ted Nugent joined Aerosmith on stage during their encore and played a couple of songs with the band.

It was also the only venue where Van Halen and The Rolling Stones played together live, which occurred in October 1981.

The Who played in 1982 with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and The B-52's as the openers. The B-52's were quickly booed off stage by the crowd. The more persistent Joan Jett & The Blackhearts played a full set.

Metallica and Guns N' Roses brought the Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour to the venue on September 2, 1992, with Faith No More as their opening act.

Paul McCartney played a sold out show at the Citrus Bowl on May 9, 1993.

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw brought their Brothers of the Sun Tour to the Citrus Bowl in 2012.

Other events[edit]

The Citrus Bowl was the site of two Billy Graham Crusades, the most recent of which took place in 1983.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics, it hosted some of the football preliminaries.[10]

Drum Corps International has held its annual World Championships at the Citrus Bowl four times in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2003

The Feld Entertainment-promoted Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam shows held there every year featured a track similar to the one at Sam Boyd Stadium in 2008 and 2009. The 2014 Monster Jam event on January 25 was the last event held at the Citrus Bowl before its renovation.

The Corporate 5K Orlando road race has been based at the stadium for several years.

The AMA Supercross Series holds an annual spring event.

The Citrus Bowl was the site of WWE WrestleMania XXIV

Renovations[edit]

A view of the field during the inaugural C-USA Championship Game in 2005.

By 2005, Orlando-area government officials and officials from The University of Central Florida expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the facility and lack of revenue, as while UCF was the primary leasing tenant for the facility, it received minimal revenue from football games. Lack of an agreement to rectify these issues led UCF to consider relocating, or spend considerable expense to upgrade the facility at its own cost. In addition, the stadium's capacity was seen as too large for UCF, leaving the stadium an appearance of being empty even with attendance of as much as 30,000–40,000 people per game. UCF's all-time attendance record was 51,978 for the 2005 C-USA Championship Game versus Tulsa. Furthermore, the stadium was located over 10 miles (16 km) from the university's main campus in East Orlando, with travel times of up to a half hour due to traffic. In 2005, UCF officials led by university president John Hitt made the decision to construct a new on-campus stadium called Bright House Networks Stadium, which opened for the 2007 season.

Orlando officials began exploring stadium refurbishment project in 2004, when the Capital One Bowl bid to become a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game, but was not chosen due to the stadium's aging condition. The Citrus Bowl also submitted a bid for the ACC Championship Game, but lost to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The key reasons for losing the bids are the lack of modern luxury boxes, bench seating, and capacity. The hopes for the Citrus Bowl became reality when, on September 29, 2006, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced an agreement on a $175-million renovation of the Citrus Bowl. It is part of the "Triple Crown for Downtown", a $1.1-billion plan to redo the Orlando Centroplex with a new $480-million arena for the Orlando Magic, a new $375-million performing arts center, and the Citrus Bowl improvements. Conceptual drawings for the possible improvements include enclosed concourses on the east and west sides of the stadium and additions to the north side that will finally complete the lower bowl.[11] The Orlando/Orange County Interlocal Agreement was approved by the Orlando City Council on August 6, 2007. However, the plans were heavily affected by the Great Recession of 2007-08.

Citrus Bowl - Upper Deck, during renovations in 2014

In 2010, the natural grass surface was replaced with AstroTurf Gameday Grass 3D after the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl and 2010 Capital One Bowl were marred by poor field conditions that led to two football player injuries. Stadium conditions once again prompted a review of the stadiums condition. Finally, it was announced in May 2013 that the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium would undergo a reconstruction during 2014, at a cost of less than US$200 million. The cost estimate as of March 2014 was US$207 million. The stadium's upper tiers will be salvaged, but the remainder of the stadium will be demolished. The reconstruction is very similar to what happened upstate in Jacksonville back in 1993 to 1995, where the old Gator Bowl Stadium was transformed into the current Everbank Field by removing the older lower deck while maintaining the stadium's newer upper deck and rebuilding new, modern lower deck seating sections below it.

In the reconstructed stadium, there will be a new lower tier, new concessions and restrooms, and a new exterior facade. The reconstruction will take place from February to November 2014. As part of the reconstruction plan, Tinker Field was to be torn down to make room for the new facade. However, supporters of the historic ballpark objected and demolition of the dilapidated facility is on hold, as of March 2014.

Seating and attendance[edit]

The stadium has 65,438[1] permanent seats and can seat 70,229 people, with temporary bleachers in the north end zone. The temporary bleachers were last used for the 2005 Capital One Bowl, which had an attendance of 70,229. The Walt Disney World Florida Classic, a rivalry football game between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman is held annually in November. WrestleMania 24 in 2008 held the stadium's all-time record for attendance of 74,635.

In popular culture[edit]

The Citrus Bowl was a filming location for the 1998 Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy. In the film, the Citrus Bowl depicted both the home stadium of the fictional University of Louisiana Cougars as well as the venue of the climactic Bourbon Bowl game.

Exterior shots of the Citrus Bowl were used in the television series Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson as Coach Hayden Fox. In the show, the Citrus Bowl was the home stadium of the fictional Orlando Breakers franchise, which Coach Fox led during the series' final 2 seasons (1995–1997). The change, which coincided with a production move to Disney-MGM Studios, reflected the real-life expansion team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Footnotes[edit]

Works cited[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Home of Orlando City Soccer Club
2011 – 2013
2015
Succeeded by
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Orlando City Stadium
Preceded by
Pro Player Stadium
Home of Russell Athletic Bowl
2001 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
first stadium
Florida Field
Home of Capital One Bowl
1947 – 1972
1974 – present
Succeeded by
Florida Field
current
Preceded by
Memorial Stadium (Wichita Falls)
Host of the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship Game
1979
Succeeded by
Hughes Stadium
Preceded by

Rich Stadium
Camp Randall Stadium
Host of the Drum Corps International
World Championship

1996 – 1998
2003
Succeeded by

Camp Randall Stadium
Invesco Field at Mile High