If you need a game plan to tackle Orlando’s football scene, you’ve just scored a winning play-by-play! From bowl games to watch party locations, we’ve compiled every MVP move you’ll need for an unforgettable football season in Orlando.
Orlando’s Bowl Scoop
December 21, 2019 | 2:30pm | Exploria Stadium | Tickets: $20 and up
Your eyes will be focused on the brown football, but expect the color pink to dominate during the 5th annual FBC Mortgage CureBowl. This year, the Georgia Southern Eagles and Liberty Flames will compete with the united game strategy of tackling breast cancer awareness and prevention. The CureBowl’s beneficiary, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, is the nation’s highest-rated breast cancer organization, with a mission dedicated exclusively to funding research. The CureBowl has collectively raised $3.6 million, of which over $1.1 million has locally funded cure-seeking science conducted at the UCF College of Medicine.
Through the CureBowl Warriors initiative, fans can nominate survivors, thrivers and fighters to receive free tickets and game-day recognition. Pre-game festivities will kick-off at 10:30am at Church Street Station with the March 2 Cure block party. Plus, the CureBowl game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. It’ll actually the first time an American football game is played at Exploria Stadium (home to Orlando City and Orlando Pride soccer teams). The CureBowl will be the Eagles third bowl game and the first-ever bowl game for the Flames.
December 28, 2019 | 12pm | Camping World Stadium | Tickets: $50 and up
This bowl game recently moved to Orlando from Miami in 2017, with Florida Citrus Sports now serving as a title sponsor. It was originally called the Blockbuster Bowl (remember Blockbuster?!) and currently holds the namesake of its Orlando-based host site. It also used to be played on Christmas Day, but the big game no longer competes with the Big Guy in the big red suit!
The Camping World Bowl features rivals from the Atlantic Coast Conference (inclusive of Notre Dame) outside of the College Football Playoff (CFP) series against the second selection from the Big 12 outside of the CFP series. This year, you can cheer on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Iowa State Cyclones. According to Camping World Bowl officials, this will be the first ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and Cyclones and the first Orlando bowl appearance for Iowa State. And, for the first time ever, the Camping World Bowl will be televised on ABC.
January 1, 2020 | 1pm | Camping World Stadium | Tickets: $41 and up
According to Florida Citrus Sports, the VRBO Citrus Bowl is the seventh-oldest collegiate bowl game in the country, dating back to 1947 and formerly called the Tangerine Bowl. The Citrus Bowl typically hosts the top Big Ten and Southeastern Conference teams from outside the CFP series of bowls (including Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton and Peach). This season’s juicy matchup will feature Michigan versus Alabama.
To set yourself up for a victorious day, check out the virtual venue navigation tool and also note policies, such as the clear bag rule. This New Year’s Day event will be broadcast on ABC. Sadly, following a 39-year tradition in the streets of Downtown Orlando, the Citrus Parade will not be held this year.
January 26, 2020 | 3pm | Camping World Stadium | Tickets: $45 and up
Rumors swirled earlier this year that the NFL Pro Bowl presented by Verizon would relocate from Orlando to either Miami or Tampa (the sites for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls); but, thankfully, Orlando again scored this all-star game for the fourth straight season.
The 2020 Pro Bowl will maintain its traditional American Football Conference vs. National Football Conference game format, with rosters determined by consensus voting of fans, players and coaches. Through December 12, 2019, fans can cast votes at NFL.com/ProBowlVote and via Twitter (with tweets inclusive of player name, player’s official Twitter handle and the hashtag #ProBowlVote). New this year, voters have an opportunity to win prizes, including a pair of 2020 NFL tickets and signed footballs autographed by Matt Stafford, Travis Kelce, Le’Veon Bell and Sam Darnold.
Setting the stage for an all-star experience, fans will enter the stadium on the Pro Bowl Red Carpet. Plus, future football stars in training can partake in “Kid Zone” activities, and all fans can enjoy a post-game fireworks display. Leading up to game day, other Pro Bowl events will be held in Orlando, such as:
- Pro Bowl Skills Showdown (Jan. 22): A ticketed event held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to challenge the athletics of the all-stars through unique competitions.
- 2020 Pro Bowl AFC Team Practice & Fan Viewing (Jan. 22-25): Free admittance to those who register and download the Fan Mobile Pass app.
- 2020 NFL Pro Bowl Pep Rally at Disney Springs (Jan. 25): This free celebration will feature NFL cheerleaders, team mascots and more.
The 88 all-star players will be announced on December 17, 2019 during the NFL Network’s Pro Bowl special “NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Players Revealed” at 8pm. The Pro Bowl game will be televised on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and simulcast on ABC and Disney XD.
Orlando’s Watch Party Options
Orlando’s own UCF football team will face-off with Marshall on December, 23, 2019 at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. Go Knights! If you’d rather root for your team during this game or any of the bowl game from a restaurant booth or bar stool instead of a stadium bleacher, here are places to combine game day action and grub.
This lakeside tavern offers a crowd-pleasing experience for football fans thanks to jumbo TV screens, cold beers and a diverse menu (including gluten-free). Bring your wingmen to feast on game day wing specials.
To pair American football with American fare, settle into a booth or table at this sports bar near Restaurant Row. With twelve huge TVs and 40 arcade games, you’ll definitely get your game on at the Groovy Goat.
With six Orlando-area locations ─ including Clermont, College Park, Downtown Orlando, Lake Nona, Lake Mary and Thornton Park ─ you won’t have to travel far to enjoy football specials, like beer buckets starting at $12.
While it’s a favorite of Orlando City Soccer fans, this spirited restaurant also entices football fans with Monterey-Blue Cheese Wagyu Sliders, Smoked Brisket Tacos and other flavorful eats.
With multiple Orlando locations, including one on International Drive, Miller’s features special combinations during football games, like Burger & Brew, a cheeseburger, fries and pint of Miller Lite; The Zingman, choice of 10 wings or 1 order of zingers and a pint of Miller Lite; or The Tailgater, half-rack of ribs, 1 order of zingers, coleslaw and a side.
With appearances on The Cooking Channel and Travel Channel, expect to be wowed by the lengthy burger menu. With pigskin on the mind, opt for The Pig, smoked ham, bacon and pulled pork topped with white cheddar cheese, onion jam and herb mayo on a pretzel bun.
If you expect to work up a sweat cheering for your team, retreat to the open-air dining room of The Hammered Lamb for a refreshing breeze and views of Lake Ivanhoe. Offering daily drink specials, game day hydration favorites include 20 draft beers and a weekend Bloody Mary bar.
Other football-friendly eateries:
- American Social
- Duffy’s Sports Grill
- Harry Buffalo
- NBC Sports Grill & Brew
- Rock & Brews
- The Porch
- Vanbarry’s Public House
- Wing Shack Restaurant & Bar
- World of Beer
From touchdowns to down comforters, Hilton has three comfortable properties conveniently located near Camping World Stadium and Exploria Stadium: Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Downtown in the heart of The City Beautiful, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando Downtown overlooking Lake Ivanhoe and Hampton Inn & Suites Orlando/Downtown South – Medical Center in the popular SODO district. Choose from these pre-game and post-game accommodations to suit your MVP style!