Orlando Named Best City for Sports Events in USA – UCF Athletics

Orlando Named Best City for Sports Events in USA – UCF Athletics

Orlando Magic Basketball, Orlando City and Orlando Pride Soccer, the best tennis center in the country, college football games, NFL Pro Bowl, US Olympic Marathon Trials, Arnold Palmer Invitational … and of course, the UCF Knights.

Orlando has something to offer fans of every sport so much so that the highly regarded Sports Business Journal today named Orlando the #1 Best Sports Business City to Attract and Host Events.

“Orlando’s rise to the top spot in this year’s rankings is a testament to the vibrant synergy between the world-class venues. dedicated sports commissions and the enthusiastic community that makes Orlando an outstanding destination for the sports business, says Abe Madkur, publisher and executive editor at SBJ.

This synergy and success is a testament to the dedicated efforts of city, county and state governments; organizations such as the Greater Orlando Sports Commission; and a fan community that embraces the many events held here.

As Orlando’s hometown team, the Knights can be proud of their contributions that have helped cultivate the city’s reputation as a prominent sports hub.

From its humble beginnings with its first varsity sport (men’s basketball) in 1969 to its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference in 2023, UCF has rocketed to unprecedented success as the nation’s youngest Power Four program. With one of the top sports business graduate programs in the country, UCF has also provided a pool of talented graduates to some of the biggest sports brands in the country, including franchises right in its own backyard.

The university also partners with regional governments and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission to host portions of various major events that bring a big boost to tourism in the region. These include the NFL Pro Bowl Skills Challenge, training activities for the US Women’s National Soccer Team, NCAA postseason competition and much more.

“Over the years, sports have helped bring our community together and showcase Orlando’s vibrancy and commitment to inclusion,” said Orlando City Mayor Buddy Dyer. “By enabling us to welcome more visitors to our region, sport also drives economic growth by boosting our hospitality industry and small businesses.” From our hometown teams like the UCF Knights to the many regional, national and international events we host, sports play an important role in our community.”

UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir says strong partnerships in Orlando are a major reason so many events — including those at UCF — are successful.

“We are grateful to be in a community where our leaders dream big and work closely together to benefit our region’s economic development, quality of life and community spirit,” says Mohajir. “We also appreciate the many coaches, student-athletes, donors and fans who have contributed to the tremendous growth and success in our UCF athletics program. We are proud to represent Orlando at the Power 4 Conference and the economic and social benefits it brings to our region.”


When ESPN senior writer Andrea Adelson moved to Orlando in 2006, she said it didn’t feel like UCF — specifically the football team — was part of the community. Nestled in the middle of a state with three additional Power Five programs, it saw fans favor other teams’ colors over the Knights by a wide margin.

Adelson is quick to point out that today is a completely different story.

“To see this evolution over the last [18] years were remarkable, but UCF deserved it,” Adelson says. “UCF built the facilities. UCF built the stadium on campus. UCF made a commitment to football that got them to where they are now in the Big 12. … Now when you go to a football game, it’s an event. There are queues everywhere. Memory Mall is full.

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