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Monday, June 25, 2012
Citrus Bowl Stadium getting spruced up

By Adam Rittenberg

The Capital One Bowl in Orlando is one of the premier destinations for Big Ten teams and their fans every January. Finally, the game's venue will start to look the part.

The mayors of Orlando and Orange County announced Monday that they've reached an agreement to revive renovations to the Citrus Bowl Stadium. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel that the city will issue at least $140 million in bonds to help finance the project. Construction would begin in early 2014.

In 2009, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany expressed concerns about the aging stadium, calling it "a venue that has fallen behind." Big Ten teams played two bowl games in Orlando -- Capital One and Champs Sports -- during the 2006-2009 seasons, but re-upped only with Capital One for the current bowl cycle (2010-13). A renovation had been scheduled to begin in 2009, but the economic crisis changed things.

Monday's commitment to a renovation increases the likelihood the Big Ten keeps the Capital One Bowl on its next postseason lineup.

From the Orlando Sentinel:
The 76-year-old stadium, which hosts the Capital One Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl and Florida Classic, is slated for a major retrofit. It would get a new lower bowl with 8,000 club seats; additional restrooms and concessions; a wider, more modern concourse; new locker rooms and media rooms; banquet space and a ballroom; and possibly more suites.

A new playing surface was installed at the Citrus Bowl in 2010, months after Penn State and LSU played on an embarrassingly poor field during the 2010 bowl game.

The Capital One Bowl often pairs two top 10 teams, and with the bowl landscape shifting after 2014 because of a likely four-team playoff, it needed to make upgrades. Good to see.