The University of Notre Dame and Florida Citrus Sports have agreed to work together to create football matchups in Orlando, pending a renovation of the cityï¿½s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.The games would be played in 2011 and 2014, with the former potentially being the first game held in the new Citrus Bowl after renovations are completed.Opponents have yet to be determined.
ï¿½We are very excited about working to have an elite national program like Notre Dame visit Orlando twice in four years,ï¿½ said Steve Hogan, Florida Citrus Sportsï¿½ Executive Director.ï¿½A renovation of the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium will remove one of the main obstacles that has stood between Orlando and a variety of major stadium events.Hopefully, the addition of FSU and Notre Dame neutral site games in recent weeks is an example of what is possible.ï¿½
Notre Dame officials have expressed interest in setting up neutral site games across the country on a rotational basis to foster the universityï¿½s nationwide fan base since the addition of the 12th game to the college football regular season. Orlando hopes to become part of a regular rotation for the Irish.
Notre Dame is the second school in as many weeks to work toward playing neutral site games in a renovated Citrus Bowl.Last week, Florida State University agreed to play a non-conference game in Orlando in either 2012 or 2013.With the proposed renovations estimated to end in 2011, the new-and-improved facility would play host to at least one neutral site college football game in three of its first four years.
ï¿½Weï¿½ll be excited to welcome Notre Dame back to the Citrus Bowl,ï¿½ said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Their diverse fan base follows their team in force and has, historically, provided a huge economic impact when they’re playing a game away from South Bend. Weï¿½re excited to showcase all central Florida has to offer and to give fans a world-class experience at our renovated stadium in a vibrant downtown setting.ï¿½
Notre Dame is coming off consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances after the 2005 and ’06 seasons, joining USC and Ohio State as the only teams to play in BCS games in both those years. The Irish in ’07 return 10 starters and face a schedule that includes eight bowl teams from a year ago — Georgia Tech, Michigan, Penn State, Purdue, UCLA, Boston College, USC and Navy. The Irish will be led by four captains — tight end John Carlson, safety Tom Zbikowski, linebacker Maurice Crum and running back Travis Thomas.
ï¿½Major college football is a big part of our culture,ï¿½ said Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty. “Bringing top tier teams like Notre Dame and Florida State to Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium will enhance our rich sporting tradition and introduce thousands of fans to a completely revitalized downtown.ï¿½