Orlando Voted The No. 1 Sports Business City in America by the Prestigious Sports Business Journal

The addition of Major League Baseball would further cement the city's top ranking

No other cities actively competing for an MLB franchise finished higher than No. 20 in the rankings

Second place Las Vegas a threat to overtake Orlando, with the addition of the relocation of the A's, and a likely future site for an NBA team

ORLANDO, FL The Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC (Orlando Dreamers) highlighted the recent proclamation by the prestigious Sports Business Journal publication naming Orlando as the No. 1 sports business city in America. The survey considers a variety of factors in determining the results, including the various different sports opportunities and events in the local metropolitan area, as well as attributes such as hotel room availability, and other relevant criteria. This is the second year the publication has released its official ranking of the best sports cities.

According to Pat Williams, Co-Founder and President of the Orlando Dreamers, "These results, provided by an independent, highly regarded sports media firm, confirm the attractiveness of Orlando as the next Major League Baseball location. What is even more significant about the results is that the next closest ranking for a city that has undertaken any meaningful effort to pursue an MLB franchise is at a distant No. 20 spot."

The Sports Business Journal survey lists Las Vegas as the No. 2 city, followed by Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Indianapolis. Charlotte is No. 20 on the list, and a group in North Carolina has recently expressed interest in attracting MLB to either Charlotte or Raleigh, which was ranked No. 23. Salt Lake City, which is vying for the western MLB expansion slot, is the No. 24 ranked city. Nashville and Portland were not listed in the top 25 cities by the publication.

Orlando is the largest media market in the country without an MLB team at No. 16, having previously passed Miami in media market size, and very recently passing Denver in the latest rankings. Williams is confident that Orlando will pass Minneapolis-St. Paul in the next 12 months to become the No. 15 market. Charlotte is No. 21 and approximately 25% smaller than Orlando, and Nashville is No. 26 and 35% smaller than Orlando. Salt Lake City is No. 27 in media market size and Las Vegas is No. 40. Media market size is the primary driver of media revenues for professional teams. If the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area is included in the Los Angeles metro area population statistics, the Orlando metro area is the largest by population without Major League Baseball, followed by Charlotte. Nashville's population is 25% smaller than Orlando, and Salt Lake City is less than half the size.

In addition to the highly positive news concerning Orlando's top ranking as a sports business city, there have been other recent exciting announcements concerning the metro area. On March 16, 2024, the Orlando International Airport set an all-time record for the busiest day ever with a record 102,064 departing passengers. According to the Airport Authority, this number would logically double to 204,128 total passengers if arrivals were also considered.

Williams noted that although the ranking is terrific news for the Orlando area, there is cause for concern. "Las Vegas finished a strong second in the best sports business cities, and it is likely we will see the addition of Major League Baseball there in the near future, with the pending relocation of the Oakland A's. In addition, the city is a likely candidate to secure an NBA franchise. Eight years ago, Las Vegas had no top-4 pro sports teams and Orlando had one. Fast forward to 2024, and Las Vegas has very successful NFL and NHL teams, an MLB franchise in progress, and is clearly a strong candidate to be an NBA city. Orlando still has only one of the top-4 pro sports teams represented in the area. To meaningfully compete long term with Las Vegas, Orlando needs Major League Baseball. We are not a likely location for an NFL or NHL franchise anytime in the foreseeable future -- our opportunity is clearly MLB."

The Orlando Dreamers previously reported that, based on an independent study completed in 2023, bringing MLB to Orlando, playing in the planned domed stadium located on the 35.5 acre parcel adjacent to SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center, will yield approximately 25,000 permanent jobs and create in excess of $40 billion in economic impact to Orange County over 30 years. Major League Baseball has indicated its plan to add two expansion teams in the near future, as soon as the stadium situation in St. Petersburg is addressed. The Tampa Bay Rays announced in fall 2023 that a tentative financing structure for a new stadium on the same site as Tropicana Field had been completed, however the vote from both the city and county on approving public financing has been delayed, until at least May 2024.

About Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC

Orlando City Baseball Dreamers, LLC was established to bring Major League Baseball to Orlando and Central Florida. The organization is led by Pat Williams, Founder of the Orlando Magic, and updates can be found at www.ORLANDODREAMERS.com. Orlando is also the most visited destination in the world.