ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Orange County and Citrus Bowl officials say they're interested in hosting the NFL's Pro Bowl as early as next year.
A bid to bring the NFL's all-star game to Orlando has been placed, and the city is currently in competition to land the game for a three-year period beginning in 2017. The key now is money.
"Our community reconstructed the Orlando Citrus Bowl to attract showcase events like the NFL Pro Bowl, which would draw thousands of people from across the country benefiting our local economy," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in a statement sent to FOX 35. "The City has been working with Florida Citrus Sports to secure this event and believe we are in a great position to host this event in the future."
The NFL would only confirm that Orlando is in the mix. League spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the Associated Press that multiple cities have expressed interest in hosting the Pro Bowl. The NFL also wants county and city leaders to put up some of your money to host the big event.
Supporters of the plan say the game would pump many millions of dollars into our local economy over three years. Critics want a closer look at how much money the deal could cost.
Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards says the county and Orlando would both have to put up money to land the Pro Bowl here. The deal could cost our area about $8.5 million in tax money over three years by one estimate. Most of it would come from tourist taxes.
Commissioner Edwards wants to look at the return on investment numbers. He asks, “How many people we think it’s going to bring in, and how much money they are going to spend? We’ll look at the offshoot- publicity we’re going to get from being on national television. We’ll kind of do an analysis to see if the numbers make sense.”
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said in a statement Tuesday that officials are refining the process for evaluating the use tourist development tax funds. "I am confident that once that effort is concluded, we will be able to compete to bring this marquee event to our community," said Jacobs.
The game is traditionally held in Hawaii, but it's been played in Miami and Arizona in recent years.