Orlando, the country’s largest metro area without an NFL team, may be getting an NFL game.
The Central Florida city has landed a deal with the NFL to host the annual Pro Bowl, according to a report by Bloomberg.com.
Neither the NFL nor Orlando officials have confirmed the Pro Bowl is leaving its home in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the game has been played all but two years since 1979.
Confirmation or not, Florida governor Rick Scott on Friday morning seemed excited about the game returning to his home state.
Miami hosted the Pro Bowl in 2010 when the NFL moved the game to then-Sun Life Stadium to coincide with the Super Bowl, which was played there a week later. Glendale, Arizona held the game in 2015, again as a precursor to having the Super Bowl in the same city a week later.
But the game has typically been played in Hawaii, which many NFL players value as a vacation destination after a season’s hard work.
The NFL can opt out of its contract with Honolulu on May 31. The league has been in discussions with Honolulu, Orlando, Houston and even Sydney, Australia to determine the game’s next venue.
The NFL has been looking for ways to improve the Pro Bowl because it has recently fallen on hard times.
The annual all-star game has seen a decline in the quality of play as well as in television ratings the past two years. Last season, nearly two dozen players opted out of playing in the game, forcing the league to pick substitutes to compete.
Moving the game is one way the NFL is seeking to reinvigorate the contest and putting iit n Orlando could create newfound excitement in a city hungry for more professional sports.
The headline in Friday’s Orlando Sentinel blared, ”Hey, Orlando, the Pro Bowl makes us an NFL city!”