Get the score on Orlando’s biggest sports events, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational, NCAA bowl games, professional teams and more.
Updated February 2021
Love sports? Love to win? You’re going to love Orlando! Our state-of-the-art facilities host major annual events like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bowl games, tennis championships and professional golf tournaments, not to mention home games for Orlando’s National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), NCAA Division I football and minor-league hockey teams. Gear up for game time in Orlando!
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Major Annual Sports Events in Orlando
Major NCAA Games (November – January)
Orlando isn’t the official home of NCAA football action, but with four major games taking place here annually, we’re certainly in the running! Special games start with the Florida Blue Florida Classic (November) at Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando. Pitting the Florida A&M Rattlers against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, it’s the nation’s largest football game between two Historically Black College/University (HBCU) schools.
Camping World Stadium also hosts the aptly named Cheez-It Bowl (December), which features the top selection from the Atlantic Coast Conference outside the College Football Playoff (CFP) series, inclusive of Notre Dame, and the second selection from the Big 12 outside the CFP series. Then, the VRBO Citrus Bowl (January 1) gets the new year off to an action-packed start with the top Big Ten and Southeastern Conference teams outside the CFP series.
Also located in downtown Orlando, Exploria Stadium is normally dedicated to European football, but it switches to the American version for the Cure Bowl (December). Proceeds from the game, which offers a matchup of teams from the American Atlantic Conference and Sun Belt Conference, directly benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard (March)
One of the crown jewels of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour, this annual event attracts one of the strongest international fields of the season. Past Arnold Palmer Invitational champions who continue to play in the tournament include Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Tim Herron and Tiger Woods.
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The tournament also supports a great cause, with proceeds benefiting the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, both in Orlando. It’s held at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, about 15 minutes west of Universal Orlando Resort.
Tournaments at United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus (Year-Round)
Located in Orlando’s Lake Nona neighborhood, about 15 minutes south of Orlando International Airport, the USTA National Campus features 100 tennis courts on more than 64 acres. In addition to offering unparalleled playing, training and educational experiences for players of all ages and skillsets — including numerous courts that are free to play with reservations — it hosts a full slate of professional, collegiate and even amateur tournaments and competitions throughout the year.
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In spring 2019, the USTA National Campus hosted the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, which are set to return in 2021, with the Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships coming in 2022. Several other tournaments are scheduled for 2019-20.
Major Sports Teams in Orlando
Orlando Magic (October – April)
Orlando’s longest-running professional sports team, the NBA’s Orlando Magic play 44 home games a year (including the preseason) at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. Not a fan? Keep in mind that they might be playing your favorite team the next time you’re in town!
During their history, the Magic have won five division championships, plus the Eastern Conference title in 1995 and 2009. Even during lean years, the Magic are local heroes on and off the hardwood, thanks to charitable giving of more than $2 million annually to the Orlando community.
Orlando City Soccer Club & Orlando Pride (March – October)
An official MLS team since 2015, Orlando City Soccer Club plays at Exploria Stadium in downtown Orlando. The world-class facility has been heralded as one of the league’s best, complete with an energetic local fan base that turns games into action-packed experiences for players and spectators alike.
Exploria Stadium is also home to the NWSL’s Orlando City Pride. They’re led by Alex Morgan, who helped the U.S. win titles at the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights — NCAA Division I Football (September – December)
A nationally ranked NCAA Division I football team, the UCF Knights play home games at Spectrum Stadium, about 30 minutes east of downtown Orlando. Each year, UCF faces off against the University of South Tampa in the famous “War on I-4.”
Orlando Solar Bears (October – April)
Part of the ECHL (formerly the East Coast Hockey League) and affiliated with the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning and American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch, the Orlando Solar Bears play home games at downtown Orlando’s Amway Center. Always a blast, their games also provide some of the most affordably priced sports action in Orlando.
In addition to hosting professional sports, Orlando has plenty of opportunities for you to get in the game with golf, tennis, volleyball and more. Stay tuned to our blog to learn more ways to play when you’re visiting Orlando!