Spectrum Stadium – Orlando Apollos

by | Mar 2, 2019 | Chris Green, Football | 0 comments

Fanfare Score

Total Score
3.71

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Launching into Football History

Long has Orlando dreamt of a professional football team that the city could call its own. The fans here are football crazy, as evidenced by the crowds at UCF football games, recent Pro Bowl visits, and three college bowl games every year. The Apollos are hoping to capitalize on this thirst, and things seem to be off to a great start.

With a game day format that takes some of the best things from UCF’s atmosphere and infuses it with their own flavor, the Apollos have created something special in Orlando that has the potential to go on for years to come.

Food & Beverage   4

After having average food options for many years, UCF invested in local businesses and upgraded their options. By far the star of the concessions at Spectrum Stadium is the Four Rivers BBQ – owned and operated by UCF grads, this central Florida BBQ restaurant has become a local favorite, and can now be found at Apollos game. Other popular options at the stadium are the $8 Knights Dog, featuring an all-beef hot dog topped with shredded pork, queso Blanco, onions, and salsa, while other options include nachos ($6), chicken Caesar wraps ($9), and mixed greens house salads ($9). Drink options include souvenir sodas ($6 with $3 refills) and SmartWater ($6) plus bottled water and soft drinks ($4-$4.50). In addition, students get discounts on certain food and drink items with their student ID, including $2 hot dogs and $2 waters.

Atmosphere   4

Taking cues from college football successes in the same stadium, the Orlando Apollos have infused the flavors of UCF and other local teams to create something unique. The show starts with a performance from the world-famous Bethune-Cookman University marching band, and then during the game in-arena hosts conduct the normal fan engagement games, etc. For player intros, smoke effects and lighting in the player tunnel harkens back to UCF games, as Apollos players run onto the field behind a military member carrying the American flag.

Before the game even starts, fans begin tailgating outside the stadium and filling the streets around CFE Arena. Here, you can find the Burger U restaurant serving up food and drink specials to fans before they head to the big show. At the arena, vendors and club tailgates are set up outside the main entrance, much like you would find at NFL or UCF games.

Neighborhood   4

Spectrum Stadium is located on the campus of UCF; both the immediate area around the stadium and the campus itself are chock full of places to find food and shopping. Just outside the stadium’s main gate are CFE Arena and UCF’s baseball stadium. Here, you can find the UCF campus bookstore and associated Starbucks, as well as Burger U, the campus bar and burger/wings joint frequented by fans and students. Outside of campus you can find Blaze Pizza, Tijuana Flats, and countless more restaurants.

For somewhere to stay, the closest options are the Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando East. Fans staying in the area are less than an hour away from Cocoa Beach and Kennedy Space Center to the east, while to the west you can find downtown Orlando and Lake Eola Park.

Fans   3

The crowds for the first two Apollos home games have averaged over 20,000 fans, which has exceeded expectations for a new team in a new league in a city that has never had a professional football team to call their own. Well short of the UCF capacity crowds that have come to be expected during college contests, the fans at Apollos games are no less passionate – they have quickly embraced the team’s identity and colors, purchasing jerseys and team gear to wear to the games. The Bounce House also continues its tradition of being a loud facility for football, with even a half-capacity crowd presenting a stout home-field advantage for the Apollos when they are on the field.

Access   4

The biggest difficulty of game day at Spectrum Stadium is the parking and traffic in and around the venue. Being that the facility is located on campus, the roads in and out of the stadium are small and get clogged quickly. Parking lots and garages fill up fast, so getting to the venue early helps avoid a long walk from across campus to the stadium’s gates in the hot Florida sun.

Unlike UCF football games, attendance is thankfully still low for AAF games, so more parking is available. Additionally, there are a lot more free parking options around campus; these spaces require payment during college contests.

Return on Investment   4

Tickets to Apollos games range from $20 for end zone general admission to $100 for the 50-yard line sections, but with free parking nearby your daily cost for a game has already dropped significantly. Add to this the cost of food and drinks, and you are still paying much less than the average outing to an NFL game. While taking a family of four out to a football game may not be the most cost-effective option for sports in Orlando, it is far more affordable than the Pro Bowl or NFL games in Jacksonville or Tampa Bay.

Extras   3

Outside the main entrance to the stadium stands a statue of former head coach George O’Leary; this is a popular photo op for fans.

The fans have also adopted the Apollo vision, attending games dressed in togas.

Finally, the end zone seating bungalows offer suites for VIPs and groups, and give you an unparalleled view of the field during the game.

Final Thoughts

The Apollos have built something great in Orlando – the potential to become a part of Orlando’s rich and proud sports scene is grand, and the fans seem to be on board. With the continuance of the AAF’s rise in popularity will come the Apollos rise as well, and without a doubt, the product on the field is exciting and has clearly made a positive impression on the audience at home. A visit to Spectrum Stadium is a must for anyone wanting to see what the AAF has to offer.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Burger U

4233 East Plaza Drive

Orlando, FL 32816

(407) 882-0450

http://www.burgeruucf.com/store/


Blaze Pizza

4100 N Alafaya Trail

Orlando, FL 32826

(407) 318-9127

https://www.blazepizza.com/locations/orlando/


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Entertainment Recommendations

Kennedy Space Center

Space Commerce Way

Merritt Island, FL 32953

(855) 433-4210

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/


Lake Eola Park

512 E Washington St

Orlando, FL 32801

(407) 246-4484

https://beta.orlando.gov/Parks-the-Environment/Directory/Lake-Eola-Park


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Lodging Recommendations

 

Hilton Garden Inn Orlando East/UCF Area

1959 N Alafaya Trail

Orlando, FL 32826

(407) 992-5000

https://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/hilton-garden-inn-orlando-east-ucf-area-ORLUCGI/


 

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando East-UCF Area

12125 High Tech Ave

Orlando, FL 32817

(407) 275-9000

http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-orlando-east-ucf-area-ORLOEDT/


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Stadium Info

Spectrum Stadium
12424 Research Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32826

Orlando Apollos website

Spectrum Stadium website

Year Opened: 2007

Capacity: 45,323

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