The East-West Shrine Game, college football's premier all-star game, will be moving to Orlando in 2010.
The 85th East-West Shrine Game will be played at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium at 3 p.m. EST on Jan. 23, 2010, and will be televised live on ESPN2.
It will be the first time the game has been held in Orlando, which will serve as host city for at least the next two years. The game got its start in the San Francisco Bay area in 1925 before moving to Houston the last three years (2007-09).
The East-West Shrine Game is the oldest college all-star game in the country and features the finest athletes in the U.S. and Canada. In 2008, 95 of 105 players on the East-West Shrine Game roster were either drafted or signed by National Football League clubs with 44 selected in that year's draft. A total of 307 East-West Shrine Game alumni were on 2008 NFL opening-day 53-man rosters, practice squads and injured-reserve lists.
"The East-West Shrine Game has always fielded players among college football's best," said East-West Shrine Game Executive Director Jack Hart. "With all 32 NFL teams represented by GMs, coaches and scouts during game week, our players have the terrific opportunity to showcase their talents and get their first glimpse of life in the NFL ... 'Just Like on Sunday.'"
While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international pediatric specialty health care system.
"We are very excited to engage in this partnership with Orlando and bring our game to this great city," said Ralph Semb, president and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children. "We hope our supporters all over the country will come out and enjoy this spectacular event at what will be a newly renovated stadium. We also have Bahia Shriners, our local Shriners International fraternity chapter, here in Orlando. One of our Shriners Hospitals for Children is located in nearby Tampa, as well."
In addition to being a favorite tourist destination, Orlando has hosted some of the country's most prestigious football games. The Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium is home to the annual Capital One Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and Florida Classic, the nation's premier HBCU event. The 85th anniversary of the East-West Shrine Game promises to be an exciting event in Orlando.
"Florida is a hotbed for college football, so it's a natural fit for the East-West Shrine Game to be hosted in the City of Orlando at the Florida Citrus Bowl," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Additionally, this game isn't just an opportunity for these athletes to showcase their skills; it is an opportunity to showcase Orlando as our country's leading tourist destination."
The Orlando contingent that helped bring the game to the East Coast includes Florida Citrus Sports, the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Central Florida Sports Commission (CFSC). It is the first time these three organizations have worked together to bring an event to Central Florida.
"We are excited to welcome the East-West Shrine Game to Orlando," said Gary Sain, president and CEO of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. "We believe that Orlando is the perfect venue for the players, fans and their families. Orlando puts a smile on the faces of visitors, and the Shriners organization makes families smile with all that they do for children."
With the addition of three games in the fall as part of the recently announced United Football League, the stadium now has 10 annual national television broadcasts planned for 2009.
"Economic impact and national television exposure are extremely important to our community, especially now, and we believe the East-West Shrine Game can grow to be even more impactful in the future," said Sam Stark, CEO of the CFSC.
As a nonprofit organization that provides all care with no financial obligation to patients or their families, Shriners Hospitals for Children relies on donations to carry out its mission. To date, the East-West Shrine Game has raised millions of dollars for Shriners Hospitals for Children and has helped inform millions of people about the mission of this extraordinary philanthropy.
"We are extremely proud that the East-West Shrine Game, the nation's second-oldest postseason college football tradition, will now call Orlando home," said Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports.
For more information, please visit
www.shrinegame.com or www.shrinershospitals.org.