It was a big day for the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, not only did it host the official announcement that the NFL would bring it’s Pro Bowl game and a preseason game to Orlando, but it secured a deal for closer ties with the NFL including hosting many of the Pro Bowl week’s festivities.
The preseason game will feature the Miami Dolphins versus the Atlanta Falcons on August 25. The Pro Bowl itself will be held January 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando (formerly the Citrus Bowl), which just underwent a major renovation. I’m sure that played a part in Orlando landing these games.
This seems like a natural marriage between the Orlando family vacation and the players and coaches of the NFL who will now be able to enjoy some time at central Florida’s world famous attractions before and after the big game.
“We are excited to re-imagine the Pro Bowl experience for both fans and players and to celebrate the game of football at all levels,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “Collaborating with Disney and ESPN brings us closer to the best in youth and family-focused entertainment. We look forward to working with the city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports to create a week-long celebration for football and our fans.”
During the Pro Bowl week, both AFC and NFC teams will hold their practices alongside youth football competitions, activities, and fan events at ESPN Wide World of Sport. It’s been a long time since the Buccaneers stopped their pre-season training at ESPN WWOS, so it will be nice to have NFL players back at the facility.
Disney will also host a Pro Bowl themed 5K run and a parade of Pro Bowl players in the Magic Kingdom.
The 2017 Pro Bowl will feature a return to the traditional AFC vs. NFC game format following three years using a revised, “unconferenced” format. The NFL’s best will once again be in the spotlight as 88 players – 44 from the AFC and 44 from the NFC – are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches.
“Hosting the NFL Pro Bowl is exactly the type of opportunity we had in mind when our community pulled together to invest in the reconstruction of Camping World Stadium. Orlando is the top tourist destination in the country and we look forward to providing players, staff, families, and fans from all levels of football an unforgettable week,” said CEO of Florida Citrus Sports Steve Hogan.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, first priority access to Pro Bowl game tickets will go to Season Ticket Members of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the other 29 NFL clubs and Florida Citrus Sports.
Remaining inventory of Pro Bowl game tickets will be available for purchase by the public in November. Fans may register on ProBowl.com for exclusive presale opportunities and additional information on Pro Bowl Week fan events in Orlando.
Football fans will also be able to see NFL action at Camping World Stadium when the Miami Dolphins host the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, August 25 at 8 PM ET in Week 3 of the preseason to celebrate Play Football Month. Youth football teams from across Florida will be honored as part of the gameday activities.
The game will also provide NFL officials the opportunity to observe the gameday experience and stadium operations. Miami Dolphins Season Ticket Members & Florida Citrus Sports Members will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets during an exclusive pre-sale on Monday, June 6, at 10 AM ET. The public on-sale will be on Thursday, June 9 at 10 AM ET. Fans can visit Dolphins.com for more information.
Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando; Mayor Teresa Jacobs of Orange County; executives from the NFL, Walt Disney World Resort, ESPN, and Florida Citrus Sports; and coaches from Edgewater High School (Orlando, FL.) pose for photos with Mickey Mouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. On June 1, the National Football League announced the arrival of the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, with AFC-NFC practices and Pro Bowl Week activities to be held at Walt Disney World Resort. (Courtesy Disney)