Construction to Camping World Stadium shouldn’t deter new events

As Orlando celebrates being named the No. 1 sports business destination by Sports Business Journal, one of its older venues is preparing to undergo another facelift.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners recently approved spending $400 million from its tourism development tax funds to complete renovations and provide upgrades to Camping World Stadium, which began in 2014.

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Those funds would be used to replace the upper deck with 18,000 seats that would be redistributed to allow for wider aisles and more legroom for spectators. It would also connect the east and west sides of the stadium.

The plans also include the construction of a 100,000 square foot fieldhouse to be used to host events mid-sized events.

Final details of the project have yet to be worked out. Still, Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan remains optimistic that once the design and planning phase is completed this year, construction can begin in 2025 and be completed in time for the 2027 college football season.

“That’s what all of us are working towards and hoping will happen,” said Hogan. You don’t want it to slide into the 2027 football season or to the end, but we’ll do what you have to do to get the job done.”

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The 60,000-seat stadium has hosted various events in its 88-year history, including the NFL Pro Bowl, college football bowl games, WrestleMania, World Cup soccer events and concerts. FCS recently announced it would be hosting a soccer match between Manchester City and Barcelona at the venue in July.

Hogan doesn’t envision the project preventing the stadium from hosting events during that stretch, although capacity may sometimes be limited.

“You don’t want to displace the business, but again, I caution to say that we’re going to do what’s best for the community,” he said. “If there’s some compelling reason to forego an event or two because you need those weeks or months to stay on schedule, everybody will work hard not to do that.

“We’re trying to build for 20 or 30 years. We’re not trying to build for an event or two or three over the next two or three years.”

Another possible avenue for business could be temporary housing for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars plan a multibillion-dollar upgrade to TIAA Bank Field, which will require the team to play home games away from Jacksonville for two seasons (2026-27). Some options mentioned are Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and Camping World Stadium.

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It’s no secret that FCS has been interested in bringing the Jaguars to Central Florida — at least temporarily.

“We’ve had conversations and continue to have conversations with the Jags,” said Hogan. “Orlando would enjoy seeing regular season NFL football played here. I still believe that’s going to happen. Whether it’s an opportunity to host [a team] while someone is in construction or other opportunities, we are always talking about it and are committed to it.

“But the Jags are probably an opportunity that seems clearest right now with them having to be out of their building.”

Camping World Stadium has hosted teams from semi-professional football leagues (WFL, USFL and UFL). Most recently, it was the home stadium for the Orlando Guardians of the XFL.

The challenge remains figuring out a construction timeline before anything can be worked out.

“That has to be the main driver right now: What is our schedule? How can we do it cost-effectively and get the most out of that TDT money to create the most competitive stadium?” said Hogan. “As much as we may want something and make it an opportunity, we must complete this campus as cost-effectively as possible.”

Hogan said FCS remains aggressive in booking more college football events beyond the Cheez-It Citrus and Pop-Tarts bowls, such as the last-season’s neutral-site opener between LSU and Florida State.

“Our postseason history is critically important, but I think there are many more opportunities in college football,” he said. I like spring and kickoff games, and we will be financially aggressive as an organization, a community, and leaders in those spaces into the future.”

Email Matt Murschel at or follow him on X at @osmattmurschel.