The National Football League made a very important announcement this week in a press conference at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World – Pro Bowl and Pro Bowl Week are both coming to Orlando and will be hosted here for the next three years beginning January 29, 2017! Visit Ticket4Football for more!
The NFL’s Pro Bowl game is an annual all star game that dates back to 1939, where pro all-star players from the 1939 season played in Los Angeles. World War II forced the game to be discontinued until 1950 where teams from both league conferences (winning teams and non) played. The Pro Bowl was played for a long time in Los Angeles, California until it moved to Aloha Stadium in Hawaii in 1980 where it was played every year until 2009.
Next year’s host city was rumored to be Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but instead will be played here in Orlando at Camping World Stadium on January 29th, 2017. Florida has hosted only one Pro Bowl game which was played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami in 2009. Now it’s back and in Orlando! People are going crazy and already getting tents from Survival Cooking to camp outside of the stadium.
“We are thrilled to bring, not only the Pro Bowl Game here, but also to create a weeklong Pro Bowl experience for fans from across the country and around the world right here in Orlando,” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Events. “We can only do that with incredible partners, all of whom are represented here today; Florida Citrus Sports, Orange County, City of Orlando, Disney, ESPN, Visit Orlando, and Visit Florida, a great set of partners who have all made this come to fruition,” he said.
Central Florida’s own Edgewater Eagles scrimmage with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Mickey Mouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports! [Image credit: Melinda Sparks]
Going from Hawaii to Orlando is a bit of a change, right? We thought so too. Why Orlando? O’Reilly responds, “We had a lot of very interested cities and markets, both domestically and around the world, who were interested in hosting the Pro Bowl but when it came down to it, there’s no more natural home for the Pro Bowl in a time where we want to bring together youth and families in a unique way and celebrate our 88 biggest stars than coming to the City of Orlando, and coming to Orlando, Florida.”
Here are my Top 5 reasons why Pro Bowl in Orlando is VERY COOL thing!
Fans will get the chance to meet their favorite NFL players up close and personal during the Pro Bowl week before the game
Fans can also participate in the NFL FAN EXPERIENCE where you can pass, receive, and kick in various NFL fan based games.
Orlando can demonstrate to the NFL, and the world, that we deserve and would support a local NFL franchise.
Orlando could now become host to USA Football’s Regional Development Camps and provide a great opportunity for young athletes to hone their craft.
The Pro Bowl would provide an economic boost to the surrounding Orlando communities.
Pro Bowl fans can sign up for exclusive presale and pregame info in the next link! NFL tickets will go on sale to the general public this November.
When His Royal Highness, Prince Harry of Wales, announced last July that the Invictus Games were coming to Orlando, we were immediately onboard. What an honor! [And in case you hadn’t heard, the Invictus Games are coming to Central Florida!] This inspiring adaptive sports event for wounded warriors of all kinds will begin at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex this Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 8th beginning with a grand Opening Ceremony on May 8th at 6pm and is almost SOLD OUT!
[Click here for full schedule]
We’ve been sworn to secrecy about the details but what we can tell you… the Invictus Games’ Opening Ceremonies are going to HUUUUGE. Alongside military performances and shared stories from Veterans and Active Duty members from around the world, Prince Harry, First Lady Michelle Obama (What up, FLOTUS?!), James Blunt, Laura Wright and more surprise guests will be in attendance at this one-of-a-kind event.
Also very cool to note, the Invictus Games will be preceded by The Invictus Games Symposium on Invisible Wounds, presented by the George W. Bush Institute. (Former President Bush also serves as Honorary Chairman for the Invictus Games Orlando 2016.) The symposium will focus on understanding the multiple facets of invisible wounds and how the warriors, caregivers, general public, providers, and influencers each play an important role in helping servicemen and women succeed. Many see the visible wounds of combat but many never think of the psychological ones – PTSD and brain trauma among them – that follow these folks home, and for the rest of their lives.
Athletes, caregivers, medical and policy experts, and providers will discuss such topics as; Understanding the Impact of Invisible Wounds, Recognizing the Need for Help, Overcoming the Barriers to Seeking Care, Navigating and Improving the Systems of Care and Addressing Invisible Wounds. You can sign up to livestream the symposium here before Sunday’s Opening Ceremonies.
Fourteen nations will be competing this weekend including; Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States! (Iraq was supposed to as well but could not attend.) Of the 500 competitors, 115 Servicewomen and men will represent the United States!
The first Invictus Games began in 2014 after His Royal Highness, Prince Harry of Wales, took a trip to the Warrior Games here in the United States. After seeing how the power of sport could help Servicemembers with life-changing injuries (visible or otherwise), he decided London would host the Inaugural Invictus Games internationally.
The word ‘invictus‘ is a Latin adjective which means unconquered. As Prince Harry has said, “These Games have shone a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of service men and women and their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit. These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning round to clap the last man in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together, not wanting to come second, but not wanting the other guys to either. These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit.“
InvicTip: Check out English poet William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, which was written while the author was in the hospital battling tuberculosis.
Longtime fans of sports in general already love to watch sports and attend games in person. Of the ten competitive events at Invictus Games 2016; archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, track and field, swimming, paintball (If you’re looking for the best paintball gun, please check propaintball.com), wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis, we’re sure you’ll find a new favorite.
2. #MoreThanThankYou is more than [a] hashtag
Anytime one sees a Servicewoman or man in uniform, we’ve all grown accustomed to thanking them for their service to our country. Of course these more than just words, and we’re sure those in uniform (and their families) thank you for the gratitude. A gentleman named Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, challenges all of us to say more than ‘thank you’ by attending the Games and sharing the story of a friend or family member, Active Duty or Veteran, on Instagram using the hashtag #MoreThanThankYou.
InvicTip: Read my exclusive interview with Fisher House Foundation CEO, Ken Fisher, on wearables4good.org!
3. The Competition is REAL – ask the UK and Canada!
Uh oh. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dropped the mic, and the gauntlet. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness, Prince Harry have something to say about this…
A single event ticket for adults is only $18, and Seniors are only $13. Children ages 3-9 are $13. (Under 3 is FREE) Active Duty military and Veteran tickets are only $13. Tickets for Opening Ceremonies on May 8th cost $65, and Closing Ceremonies on May 12th at 6pm cost $45. Keep in mind, the ticket prices we’ve listed are per event. You will need more than one ticket if attending more than one event. GeneralParking at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex is FREE, valet services will be available for an unconfirmed fee. [Click here for WWoS Guest Services and further information.]
For those wanting to stay over, Walt Disney World Resort room reservation agents are available from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern time, along with Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM Eastern time by calling (407) 939-4686. Rooms are available at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort for $178 per night plus tax and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort for $113 per night plus tax bit with TurboTax.Intuit.com, you get a groupon discount on taxes.
InvicTip: Archery Finals, Sitting Volleyball Semis & Finals, Wheelchair Rugby Semis & Finals, Wheelchair Tennis Semis & Finals, and Wheelchair Basketball Finals are very close to selling out according to Ticketmaster’s site. Act FAST!
5. If you can’t attend physically, you can watch & support virtually!
We’d love to see you here in Orlando but understand if you or your family can’t physically make this year’s Invictus Games. You can still watch the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 LIVE online and on ESPN 2 & 3 via the app or on TV. You can also participate by following #InvictusOrlando on their official social channels:
We also encourage you to support the Games beyond their visit to Orlando, and learn more about the Invictus Games Foundation by clicking here. Next year’s games will be in Toronto, Canada! Perhaps we’ll be visiting readers in our Neighbors to the North next year?
2016 Invictus Games viewing schedule:
Sun, May 8
8 – 10 p.m.
Mon, May 9
8 – 11 a.m.
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
7 – 10:30 p.m.
7 – 8 p.m.
Day 1 Primetime Show
Tue, May 10
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Track & Field Finals
2 – 4:30 p.m.
Sitting Volleyball Semifinals
7 – 9:30 p.m.
Sitting Volleyball Gold & Bronze Matches
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Day 2 Primetime Show
Wed, May 11
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
2 – 4:30 p.m.
Wheelchair Rugby Semifinals
7:30 – 11p.m.
Wheelchair Rugby Gold & Bronze Medal Matches & Exhibition