As a city known for its world-class theme parks, expansive resort options and thriving food scene, Orlando has a new dimension to add to its packed playbook: top-notch sporting events, venues and activities. And being one of the country’s top destinations for recreation according to WalletHub in 2022, Orlando delivers incredible opportunities for active visitors and sports enthusiasts. Between the temperate weather of Central Florida and the steady influx of domestic and international visitors, Orlando welcomes fans of all kinds to get hyped over their favorite players and teams or join in and play themselves.
In 2022, Orlando was named one of the top cities for soccer fans by Wallethub.com due to low-cost tickets, engagement of fans and stadium accessibility. MLS Team, Orlando City Soccer Club, plays March through October in the 25,000-seat Exploria Stadium in downtown Orlando. Sharing the stadium is the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) which plays April through October. In addition to MLS and NWSL games, Orlando is a regular host of international matches including The Florida Cup, an annual tournament featuring top clubs from Europe. This Summer, the destination is headed into extra time by hosting celebrity soccer match, The Beautiful Game (June 23, 2023), including Brazilian soccer icons Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos; Fulham FC vs. Aston Villa FC as part of the Premier League Summer Series (July 26, 2023); And Juventus vs. Real Madrid in the Soccer Champions Tour (Aug. 2, 2023).
For football fans, the 75,000-seat Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando gives visitors a superb spectator experience. The stadium is home to some of the nation’s biggest college football competitions, including January’s Citrus Bowl and November’s Florida Blue Florida Classic and the Camping World Kickoff are all played at Camping World Stadium. In February 2023, the stadium also became home to the Orlando Guardians from the new fast-paced global professional football league, XFL. The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl is played annually at Exploria Stadium and Orlando is also the site of three NCAA All-Star football games. The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World ®Resort hosts over 60 sports and thousands of events for athletes of all ages and abilities.
The NBA’s Orlando Magic is the city’s most famous sports team. Fans can find them at home games October through April in the amenity-loaded Amway Center, an 18,846-seat venue, and one of the most technologically advanced in the world. Offering VIP appointments like mid-level luxury and club seating, a stunning art collection, massive scoreboard and several restaurants and bars, the flexible venue is an inviting space for diehard fans and celebrities alike to cheer for Orlando teams.
In addition to the Magic, the Amway Center is home to the Orlando Solar Bears, an affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America. In ten seasons of operation, the team has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs five times. Regular season runs November through April.
Orlando has a long history of golf lovers choosing the area for their retreats, vacations and retirement homes. Arnold Palmer – one of the world’s most beloved golfers – not only started his own resort and golf course in Orlando but founded the Golf Channel here. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge is just one of more than 150 golf courses in the Orlando area, many from celebrated course designers, and some featuring academies helmed by nationally recognized instructors. Major tournaments call Orlando home including the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament, which benefits the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, and The Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, an official LPGA event held at the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.
Both casual and competitive golfers will love Orlando’s variety of golf entertainment venues. Centrally located on International Drive, Top Golf Orlando is a state-of-the-art golf range facility, with three-levels and 102 climate-controlled hitting bays for up to six players each. Nearby Orlando International Airport and Orlando’s Medical City, Drive Shack Orlando offers 90 full-service, all-weather bays and unlimited golf balls.
Since 2017, Orlando has been the home of American tennis, when the United States Tennis Association (USTA) opened a campus in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. The 63-acre complex encompasses100 courts floodlit courts, including two championship courts, a 12-court collegiate center, 26 smart courts with PlaySight technology, four full-sized Pickleball hard courts and a multi-use building with a pro shop, fitness center, locker rooms, cafeteria and players’ lounge…
For intercollegiate sports enthusiasts, the University of Central Florida, members of the Big 12; and Rollins College, an NCAA Division II school in Winter Park; offer a full slate of athletic event spectator opportunities at top-notch arenas and stadiums.
In 2019, Orlando’s Full Sail University opened the largest on-campus collegiate esports arena in the U.S. The arena, known as The Fortress, accommodates 100 esport athletes playing simultaneously, with over 500 spectators watching live.
Racing through a theme park gains new meaning through participating in one of the unique running events at Orlando’s world-famous theme parks. With castle views, character interactions and a race that raises money for conservation, a medal has never been so rewarding. With more than 188,000 runners participating throughout the year, runDisney hosts four race weekends throughout the year that include 5ks, 10ks, half and full marathon options.
Find more sports events on the Visit Orlando Events Calendar.
About Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States, Theme Park Capital of the World® and No. 1 meeting destination in the country. A not-for-profit trade association that brands, markets and sells the Orlando destination globally, we represent more than 1,500 member companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community.
Visit Orlando connects consumers and business groups with all facets of Orlando’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, activities to connect with nature, vibrant neighborhoods, a dynamic dining scene with Michelin recognized restaurants, and a robust calendar of entertainment and sports events — Orlando is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community for all travelers. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com or OrlandoMeeting.com.
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