• Citrus Sports CEO wants college football national championship game in Orlando


    ORLANDO, Fla. - As Florida State prepares to take on Auburn on Monday in Pasadena, Calif., Channel 9's Greg Warmoth said Orlando may attempt to host the national championship game.

    Tampa just won the bid to host the national championship game in 2017, and Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said they'll be ready to take their shot at securing the game once the stadium is upgraded.

    "I think it's going to be incredible," he said.

    Hogan said he dreamed of a long-shot Citrus Bowl renovation, which has since been approved.

    "It will be a 360-degree bowl," said Hogan. "This facility, every bit will be NFL-grade. It will be an NFL-grade facility from a fans perspective, when you think of digital technology and displays, a 65,000-seat capacity, the concourses, the seats, everything else that a fan would enjoy."

    Hogan said the renovated bowl will have fewer suites than a typical NFL facility, but the proximity to downtown Orlando, the makeover of Church Street, plus the weather and attractions will make the experience for out-of-town fans, second to none.

    Not to mention, the locals, who've watched the stadium over the last 70 plus years.

    "It's going to be a pretty incredible process, especially for those from around here," said Hogan.

    After the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day, crews will come in and begin to gut the place.

    "The last part of January, everything you see below these upper decks will be scraped away to earth. It will be pretty incredible," said Hogan.

    He's now dreaming that the $210 million makeover will lead to a huge payoff from hosting college football's national championship game.

    "I mean, why not us?" said Hogan. "The No. 1 tourist destination in the world, coupled with a very competitive facility. I think it's our turn."

    Hogan will be in California next week for a meet-and-greet with those who will decide which city gets the national championship games in the future.

    "We're going to go after that with vigor," said Hogan. "I think you got to get in. You have to demonstrate you're serious, you've got a plan, people are behind you and if you do that, I think you get into that rotation, and why not us? It may be just a matter of years."

    Hogan said he needs city and county leaders, and the business and community behind the push.

    Hogan said his organization should be ready to bid in 2016, which could mean Orlando hosts the game as early as 2018.

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    Citrus Sports CEO wants college football national championship game in Orlando