Let’s stop pretending Orlando College Bowl games benefit everyone

One of the biggest illusions that we endure every year is that the college football bowl games hosted here in Orlando have this huge economic impact on our community, and has such a substantial effect on our quality of life.

At best that philosophy is an exaggeration. At worst, it’s a lie.

The truth is that every visitor’s movements during bowl season are choreographed to only benefit a small area and group of people in Orlando.

This week for the Cheeze It Bowl, Clemson fans arrived at Orlando International Airport. They were shuttled to their hotels on International Drive.

The revenue from those hotel nights are protected by the Tourism Development Tax. That money is restricted from being used on anything else but tourism, even though the tourism industry here is a billion dollar industry and we have no affordable place to live.

Then those Clemson fans partied on International Drive, eating at chain owned restaurants and going to the theme parks.

On gameday, they were shuttled to the stadium with a possible detour downtown. They spend no money on the neighborhoods surrounding the Citrus Bowl.

They then go back to I-Drive. Spend more money with “big tourism” entities and fly back home.

That’s it.

You’re not going to see dime of that economic impact.

It won’t lower your rent. It won’t get you a raise. It won’t even make your commute easier (they’re going to raise your taxes next year for that).

The bowl games don’t really help anyone. Even though we’re the ones working at the stadium and in those hotels to make it possible.

Next time you’re talking to an elected official. Ask them is if they want to tourism development tax diversified. That will tell you a lot about them. Anything but a “yes” is punt.

And the next time you hear someone bragging about the economic impact of these bowl games for Orlando residents, call then out on it.

They’re perpetuating nonsense.

You can watch a video I made on the subject below.

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