The Daytona International Speedway, host of the Daytona 500, just broke ground for $400 million worth of renovations and could be looking beyond auto racing. Officials at the track would like to host a few other sports, including football, with Florida, Florida State and the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in mind.
After Daytona's $400M redesign, track wants soccer, rugby & football games. Thinking Jaguars, Gators & Seminoles for plush, 100k-seat venue— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) July 5, 2013
Officials announced the renovations last month. International Speedway Corp., Daytona's parent company, had hoped to get some public money for the venture, but that won't happen. Instead, funds will come from the capital expenditure budget that ISC had earmarked for improvements for all of its tracks from 2013-17.
Football fans have long talked about playing games at big auto racing venues -- the Tennessee Volunteers at Bristol Motor Speedway come to mind -- and this could be the first sign of that scenario actually coming to fruition. Playing a game at Daytona would offer state-of-the-art amenities and the possibility for a huge crowd. It's unknown if capacity will change after the renovations or be adjusted for football, but the track currently holds 167,785 fans (though nowhere near that many would be able to sit close enough to watch a football game).
Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium holds 88,548, FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium holds 82,300 and Jacksonville's EverBank Field can seat a maximum capacity of 84,000.
The renovations are expected to take two and a half years to complete.