By: Angela Caraway-Carlton
What you need to know about the Orange Bowl in Miami.
The Capital One Orange Bowl, is a coveted tradition in Miami. It is played at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, with locals and football fans from all over the country looking forward to one of the most exciting matchups in college football, played in a tropical setting.
Football in the Tropics
While many fans of the top college football teams in the country are braving frigid temperatures (and often snow) during playoff games, anyone attending the Orange Bowl in Miami is already a winner when it comes to weather and fun things to do.
Miami’s annual bowl game usually takes place at the end of December, or at the beginning of January, and draws tens of thousands of football fans who can’t wait to see their favorite team square off on the gridiron.
Orange Bowl History
Miami is considered a trailblazer when it comes to bowl games. The first Orange Bowl game was played in January 1935, making it the second oldest bowl game in the nation, right behind the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Similar to the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl was created to generate tourism for South Florida during the region’s enviable mild winters.
"It’s a great place for tourists to come, even if they aren’t associated with the game. Anyone would choose to be in Miami over a snowy football game somewhere else," says Brett Beveridge, who has served on the Orange Bowl Committee, an organization which is made up of South Florida business leaders, sports fans and philanthropists.
Orange Bowl Playoffs
The Capital One Orange Bowl is part of the College Football Playoffs, and will host a Playoff Semifinal game every three years, with the next ones scheduled for 2018, 2021 and 2024.
When the Orange Bowl does not host a semifinal, it will feature the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Champion, or the next highest ranked ACC school against the highest ranked available school from either the Big Ten Conference, Southeastern Conference (SEC) or Notre Dame.
The Orange Bowl has drawn a sellout crowd of more than 67,000 spectators, with approximately 90 percent of the crowd coming from outside South Florida.
The Orange Bowl has seen many changes over the decades, including the stadium location. The iconic Orange Bowl stadium was demolished in 2008 and the bowl game is now played at the home of the Miami Dolphins in Miami Gardens, which is undergoing a significant modernization.
For many locals, the game has been a part of their New Year’s traditions since they were kids. "The Orange Bowl is a Miami staple. I remember as a kid in the 70’s, looking forward to going to the old stadium each year," says Beveridge. "Today, the energy in the new stadium and the community coming together, is still something to celebrate every year."
The Orange Bowl has a lot to brag about: It has hosted 20 National Champions and many Heisman trophy winners throughout the years.
During the week leading up to the game, football fans, and even non-fans, engage in a host of activities all over the city. The competing football teams usually arrive a full week before the game, and fans will want to do the same, to enjoy Miami’s beautiful beaches, golf courses, exciting nightlife and eclectic food.
The Coach’s Luncheon is usually held the day before the big game, where interviews are conducted with the coaches and star players, and the annual Orange Bowl Hall of Fame class is honored.
The Orange Bowl Fan Fest kicks off the game-day celebration with interactive games, music, sports memorabilia, contests and performances. This ticketed event usually features some major musical acts such as Phillip Phillips, Little Big Town, Jake Owen and Lil Wayne.
Tailgaters will enjoy marching bands, music and cheerleaders, who are ready to get everyone pumped up for the big game.
Tickets and Tips
Tickets to the Orange Bowl go on sale in late summer or early fall. The best seat in the house is a matter of taste. The New Miami Stadium has added several premium locations to watch the big game in VIP-style, and thanks to major renovations, there is now an open-air canopy to provide shade and shelter from the rain.
Check out more events in Miami.
Stay in Touch: Sign up for the Miami Insider enews to receive news, events and special offers.
Share the Love: We'd love to see your photos! Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and don’t forget to use the hashtag: #SoMiami.