New stadium: Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium

source: StadiumDB.com

New stadium: Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium Currently the temporary home of Orlando City in their 2015 debut. But this stadium has already hosted the FIFA World Cup and Summer Olympics. Quite a story!

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When it was first opened in 1936, the stadium was simply another addition to a local sports complex, set beside the baseball Tinker Field. But as time went by it began growing, first to 11,000 in 1952 and then to 16,000 in 1968.

Huge changes came in 1976 when, after two years of redevelopment, the stadium reopened with two tiers able to hold 52,000 people. Only the north end was left open towards the nearby Lake Lorna Doone, able to hold temporary bleachers if demand was high.

Citrus Bowl© Kitch (cc:by-sa)

In 1989 two massive upper tiers were added on both east and west sides. Interestingly, the western one overhangs the turf of Tinker Field due to space limitations. In this layout the Citrus Bowl hosted its most prestigious international events – the 1994 World Cup (group games) and 1996 Olympics (male and female football).

Further structural changes came in 2014, when the entire two lower tiers were dismantled and rebuilt in a new layout. Each fan was given an individual seat and additional 15cm / 6 inches of legroom without significant capacity loss. Only the concrete uppermost deck structures were retained during this project.

Citrus Bowl© Chris Gent

Orlando’s most famous stadium had very limited luck regarding anchor tenants. A dozen sports franchises used it as temporary home, but none stayed here in the long run. Even the University of Central Florida Kinights left in 2006 as the college wanted an on-campus stadium of their own.

On the other hand, though, the stadium is known for one-off and annual events. Citrus Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl and several other NCAA classics are joined by MLS All-Star game (1998) and USA friendly against Brazil (won 4:1 by the US in 2013), not forgetting the World Cup and Olympics already mentioned before.

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