Have you been to Walt Disney World and saw all the sports kids there for the Pop Warner events like the Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships? Well they are no longer going have their events hosted at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. They are now partnering with Florida Citrus Sports and moving to Universal Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
Pop Warner is proud to be partnering with @FCSports to make Universal Orlando Resort & Camping World Stadium the new home to Pop Warner National Championship week starting this December! @UniversalORL @CWStadium #PopWarner #PopWarnerSB pic.twitter.com/loyyogSmJJ
— Official Pop Warner (@Pop_Warner) January 29, 2021
Here’s the official announcement:
“Pop Warner Little Scholars, the nation’s oldest and most prominent youth football organization, and Florida Citrus Sports announced that Orlando will continue to play host to the historic Pop Warner Super Bowl and Cheer & Dance National Championships, which combine to draw 10,000 Pop Warner student athletes and their families from around the country and internationally each December.
Under the new long-term agreement, the 60,000-seat Camping World Stadium, which has hosted the NFL Pro Bowl and major college bowl games, will be the feature field during the Pop Warner Super Bowl. Additional games and practices will be held on fields on the expanded stadium campus in Orlando.”
Universal Orlando Resort is now the new host to the Pop Warner families staying in Orlando for the event. Pop Warner Little Scholars Executive Director Jon Butler had this to say:
“We’re excited to ensure Orlando will continue as our home to our championship teams and families each December. We think that’s great news. Central Florida has been home to the Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships for 25 years. With the weather, theme parks and access to top-notch athletic facilities, it’s the perfect location for us to come together and celebrate the season as teams compete for national titles.
In Florida Citrus Sports, we’ve added another partner whose values align perfectly with our own and Pop Warner teams will be playing on the biggest stage the region has to offer. We’re excited and know they will be as well.”
Lately Disney has been chasing after Pro Sports events and they have apparently even tried to get the actual Super Bowl.
In their FAQ section they answer the question of why they switched to Universal Orlando as their host hotel:
“We continue to have a great relationship with Disney and are sure families will visit the parks that week. While Disney has played host to our Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships for years, our partnership regarding championship week came to a pause when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. We were putting final touches on a new agreement when Disney was suddenly tasked with hosting and creating a bubble for professional leagues like the MLS and NBA at their ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. With so much uncertainty it was difficult for Disney to commit to the future and because our first priority is our Pop Warner members, we decided to start searching for a new location to ensure our teams had a first-class Championship home.
Luckily, we did not have to look far and found a highly experienced and well-respected partner in Florida Citrus Sports and an exciting new location at Universal Orlando Resorts and Camping World Stadium, both of which we think will offer some amazing, new experiences for our athletes and their families.”
Let’s be honest, Disney wasn’t “suddenly tasked” they went out and got the deal. They publicly did what they could to get the deals. So it wasn’t an “oh gawrsh, we got the MLS and NBA dumped on us” type of scenario.
Of course professional sports is a bigger deal to Disney as they could leverage the events for ESPN and extra content for Disney+, which is what they did. So professional sports money was a bigger incentive than sports kids and their families.
That being said, it was a nightmare at the parks when these events were going on.
That’s okay, Universal is stepping in to pick up the slack.
Universal has been going after families and have been offering nicer rooms for the price. I only worry about the amount of hotel space it could take up from other travelers as the Pop Warner events “generate an estimated 25,000 room nights annually, as competitors and their families visit from across the country for the weeklong competition each year. The national youth sports organization is the largest in the world with approximately 325,000 total athletes ranging from 5 to 16 years old.”
However, this is fantastic news for Universal and for their team members job security.
The switch will begin this December.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
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