The Florida Collegiate Summer League assembles 160 top college athletes each summer to play wooden-bat baseball in a competitive atmosphere intended to prepare them for careers in professional baseball. Four general-admission tickets unlock a plethora of best-available seating options at one of five home fields for your quad-pod pack of family members. Alternate nourishing bites from four hot dogs and bags of chips with hydrating drags from four icy soft drinks while viewing inspiring feats of athleticism such as grand slams, base burglary, and home-stretch backflips.
Donning armor of red, purple, and gold, Orlando City has established itself as one of the USL Pro’s most dominant teams, winning USL Pro championships in 2011—its inaugural season—and 2012. After their second championship, the squad’s success attracted the attention of the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, who will serve as Orlando City’s parent squad for two years, beginning with the 2013 season.
The Orlando Predators stampede into the Arena Football League’s 25th season boasting the debut of a new head coach and retooled roster. Former Predators player and Winter Park native Bret Munsey brings with him both a new playbook and ArenaBowl championship expectations, telling the Orlando Sentinel upon his hiring, “[The Predators] want to win [this] year, and I’ve got to find a way to do that.” The front office has contributed to the championship campaign with new additions on both sides of the ball. Recently acquired quarterback Trevor Harris will compete with Collin Drafts for the duties of breaking the team out of each huddle and igloo-encased locker room. On defense, new nose tackle Richard Clebert dominates the line of scrimmage by clogging foes’ running lanes, as he did in his last two seasons on a pair of ArenaBowl championship teams.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.
Engineheads and tire buffs will be seated intimately close to 180 mph stock cars in the Grandstand general-admission section (a $42 value, including lowest-possible service fee). With the grace and power of a motorized, aerodynamically enhanced mountain goat, the next-generation Nationwide Series cars zip around the Speedway, shaking fences and burning up the road. Old-school NASCAR fans will nostalgically appreciate Dale Earnhardt Jr. powering around the track in a car painted like the vintage blue-and-white #3 Wrangler Chevrolet driven by his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr. The deal also includes the Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race Pit Pass (a $25 value), which grants access to the pre-race area, where fans can drop by a driver's Q&A session, discreetly peek into the garages, and sign the start/finish line—which is also the latitudinal divide where all objects must be traveling at least 150 mph.
At Volusia Speedway, racers hurtle around a half-mile banked clay track on which racing gurus as Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader occasionally make appearances. Select a Friday or Saturday night from the schedule for a night of multiple races in various vehicular categories, including street stocks, open-wheel modifiers, and swan boats affixed with tank treads. Fuel the high-octane action with intermittent bites of two concession-stand hot dogs and chilly sips from two sodas. The grandstand opens at 6:30 p.m. on Friday nights, so arrive early to snag seats with the best view of the track and of the tops of the heads in front of you.