ORLANDO, Fla. (CureBowl.com) – Exploria Stadium was transformed on Wednesday into an American college football venue for the first time for a walk-through with Orlando Sports Foundation and venue staff. It was a step in preparing for the fifth annual Cure Bowl on December 21 at 2:30 p.m.
The goalposts and field markers were installed in preparation for December’s historic event.
“The vision became reality today with goal posts being installed at Exploria Stadium,” Cure Bowl Executive Director Alan Gooch said. “For the first time, Exploria Stadium actually looks like an American football field. I can’t wait till Dec. 21 to see the crowd feel the energy and hear the pads pop at the fifth-annual Cure Bowl.”
The Cure Bowl will be the first non-soccer sporting event to be held at Exploria Stadium, since opening in March 2017. The 25,500 seat soccer-specific stadium is located in the heart of downtown Orlando and is home of the Orlando City Soccer Club of Major League Soccer (MLS) and Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
“I am looking forward to the unique atmosphere that is going to be created for the Cure Bowl at Exploria Stadium,” Gooch said. “It is a fantastic venue that brings fans closer to the action, creating an intimate experience. The first American football game here is definitely going to be an extremely special event.”
The 360-degree lower bowl and four-sided canopy roof at Exploria Stadium were designed to keep the noise in and weather out.
The proximity of Exploria Stadium to downtown and the historic Church Street Stadium Entertainment District provides for an enhanced gameday experience.
“We are going to hold a community-wide block party at historic Church Street Station on gameday that we are calling our March 2 Cure,” Gooch added. “This is an opportunity for us to bring the community together, recognize cancer survivors and create awareness for cancer research. The bands from both teams will lead a march all the way to the gates of Exploria Stadium in time for kickoff.”
The March 2 Cure kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Church Street the will feature VIP hospitality areas, alumni events, a pep rally and fun for the whole family. At 1:30 p.m., community leaders, college football fans and cancer survivors will march alongside the team bands to the gates of Exploria Stadium for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
Since its inaugural game in 2015, the Cure Bowl has been used as a platform to raise $3.6 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The Orlando community has benefited from the funds generated at the game with local BCRF research Dr. Annette Khaled at the UCF College of Medicine receiving over $1.1 million of the funds distributed.
The Cure Bowl features a matchup between teams from the American Athletic Conference Sun Belt Conference. There is also a secondary tie-in with independent Liberty University.
About the Cure Bowl
The Cure Bowl is more than a game. It is a platform to raise awareness for cancer research and recognize those that are fighting cancer or have survived cancer. Played on the third Saturday in December each year at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, this NCAA college football bowl game is televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Funds raised from the Cure Bowl directly benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). BCRF is the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide, and the highest-rated breast cancer organization in the United States, investing 91 cents of every donated dollar directly into core programs.
The Cure Bowl has helped to put Orlando at the center of some of the world’s greatest advancements in cancer science. Since 2015, the bowl has raised a collective $3.6 million. Over $1.1 million of the funds raised have gone to Dr. Annette Khaled, professor at the UCF College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences and head of the medical school’s cancer research division.
About Orlando Sports Foundation
The Orlando Sports Foundation (OSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research. The OSF holds several events throughout the year, including the Cure Bowl, which is an NCAA college football bowl game played each December.
With the combined support of Central Floridians, loyal sports fans and strategic partners, the OSF is further dedicated and committed to serving the challenges of cancer awareness and elimination, invigorating the Central Florida athletic community and supporting youth organizations with standards of benevolence, integrity and moral excellence.
About Exploria Stadium
Opened in March 2017, Exploria Stadium is home to Orlando City of Major League Soccer (MLS) and Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The 25,500 seat soccer-specific stadium is located in the heart of Downtown Orlando and was the first MLS stadium to open with five consecutive victories.
Exploria Stadium was 100 percent privately funded at a cost of $155 million. It features a 360-degree lower bowl, North America’s first safe-standing supporters’ section – dubbed “The Wall” – and a four-sided canopy roof to keep the noise in and weather out. In Section 12, there are 49 rainbow-colored seats to memorialize the victims of the tragedy at Pulse Night Club. The stadium also houses the Club’s Front Office.
To date, the stadium has hosted the U.S. Men’s National Team, 2019 MLS All-Star Game, 2017 NWSL Championship, NCAA Women’s College Cup, 2018 MLS Combine, Florida Cup and 2018 SheBelieves Cup.