The United States has witnessed many of the biggest sporting events in history, some of which have taken place in Florida. When looking at the biggest sports events ever staged in Florida, we must begin with the Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona International Speedway is the largest capacity sports venue in Florida and can accommodate over 100,000 people. The racetrack in situated in Daytona Beach and opened in 1959. It is home to the most prestigious race in NASCAR, the Daytona 500 and this is one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar for US sports fans.
The 500-mile-long race carries the largest purse of any NASCAR Cup Series event and since 1995, no other race has topped the domestic live television viewing figures, with even the Indianapolis 500 falling behind. In 2006 and with 20 million viewers, Daytona 500 attracted the sixth largest average live global television audience of any sporting event that year. So, it is easy to understand why it is regarded as one of the biggest sports events ever staged in Florida.
The 1994 FIFA World Cup was staged in the United States and one of the venues used for the event was the Camping World Stadium. Known as the Citrus Bowl at the time of the tournament, the stadium is located in Orlando and played host to five matches throughout the World Cup. That included a Round of 16 knockout matches between the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands in front of over 60,000 people. The Dutch came out on top, winning the game 2-0 and progressing to the quarter-final. For those interested in learning how to bet on football, there are some great resources online.
The same stadium hosted another of the biggest sporting events to be staged in Florida, WrestleMania XXIV. The spectacular event took place in March 2008 and attracted an attendance of close to 75,000 people, which was the largest crowd in stadium history. Such was the success of the event, WWE returned in 2017 for WrestleMania 33 and the crowd exceeded that of the 2008 event, with over 75,000 people inside the venue.
In 2005, TIAA Bank Field hosted Super Bowl XXXI between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The stadium is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars but it is the 2005 Super Bowl which stands out as being one of the biggest sporting events to be held at the venue in Florida.
The event witnessed the largest Super Bowl attendance since 1994 and it was the New England Patriots how came out on top. The half-time show was performed by Paul McCartney and is memorable for hits including “Live and Let Die”, “Hey Jude”, “Drive My Car”, and “Get Back”.
Some of the other major sporting events to be staged in Florida include The Players Championship, held annually at TPC at Sawgrass and Super Bowl LV. The latter of which was played at the Raymond James Stadium and was the first time in NFL history a team played a Super Bowl in their home stadium as Tampa Bay Buccaneers lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.