Orlando Sports Teams and Athletics
Orlando is home to the Orlando Magic, an NBA pro basketball franchise that plays at the TD Waterhouse Centre in downtown Orlando. The team made it to the NBA Finals in 1995.
The Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League also play at the TD Waterhouse Centre. Since joining the league in 1991, they have become one of the legendary franchises in the young league, having an infamous rivalry with the Tampa Bay Storm, two ArenaBowl titles (1998 and 2000), and several historic moments including the league's only shutout to date and a procession called the Miracle Minute where they scored two touchdowns with two-point conversions and forced a safety to come from behind in the final minute of a game to win.
Orlando was a stronghold of minor-league ice hockey throughout the 1990's, being home of the Orlando Solar Bears of the now-defunct International Hockey League. Historically successful, they won the Turner Cup championship in 2001 to end the IHL's final season. In 2002, the Atlantic Coast Hockey League formed with Orlando forming one of the charter franchises, the Orlando Seals, which won their Commissioner's Cup in 2003. They moved to the World Hockey Association 2 in 2003, then the Southern Professional Hockey League in 2004. The City of Orlando revoked their lease for the TD Waterhouse Centre, forcing them to sit out the 2004-05 season. They moved to Kissimmee and became the Florida Seals in November 2004.
The Citrus Bowl is the home of the Capital One Bowl (formerly the Florida Citrus Bowl) and the Champs Sports Bowl (formerly the Tangerine Bowl). It also hosts regular-season football games for the University of Central Florida (NCAA Division I-A) and Jones High School, as well as the annual Florida Classic played between the NCAA Division I-AA Football teams from Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman College. It hosted soccer games for the FIFA World Cup '94 and the 1996 Summer Olympics when each were hosted by the United States.
The Citrus Bowl was also the home of the fictional NFL team, the Orlando Breakers, which was featured in the last two seasons of the television sitcom Coach. The team was a plot device to reflect the 1995 addition of the Jacksonville Jaguars to the real-life NFL.
The Orlando Renegades were a USFL team playing at the Citrus Bowl in 1985. They folded with the league in 1986. The Orlando Thunder were a charter team in the World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992. They lost the World Bowl to the Sacramento Surge in 1992. Like all other American teams, it was dropped in the World League reorganization of 1995. The Orlando Rage were a member of the XFL that played at the Citrus Bowl, and only played in 2001. That team has since been revived in the minor-league Southern States Football League (SSFL).
Orlando will gain an expansion franchise in the Major Indoor Soccer League for the 2007 - 2008 season. The Orlando Lions were a member of the third incarnation of the American Soccer League in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The Orlando Sundogs were a minor-league soccer team in the A-League that played in the Citrus Bowl. They were disbanded in 1997 after only playing one year. Presently, two lower-division soccer teams call Orlando home: the Premier Development League's (PDL) Central Florida Kraze, and Ajax Orlando. The Kraze won the PDL Championship in 2004, while Ajax (pronounced EYE-acks) is the only Amercian subsidiary of global soccer power Ajax Amsterdam of the Dutch Eredivisie (professional soccer league).
Tinker Field, named for baseball hall-of-famer Joe Tinker, is a historic baseball stadium next to the Citrus Bowl, currently out of use. It was formerly the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins (and the Washington Nationals/Senators before them) and AA Southern League affiliates of the Twins, Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Cracker Jack Stadium, situated in the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, is the baseball stadium that is currently used in Orlando. The spring training home of the Atlanta Braves, it played host to the games of the Pool D teams in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
There has been small-talk about the city of Orlando and a possible acquisition of the Florida Marlins baseball franchise. If that were to happen, a ball-park would have to be made for them.
T.D. Waterhouse Centre
18,039 seat facility
Home of NBA’s "Orlando Magic"
Home of WNBA's "Orlando Miracle"
Home of Arena Football League’s "Orlando Predators"
Home of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League's "Orlando Seals"