Tax-cut package puts Orlando in scoring position as World Cup site

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The package includes a sales tax exemption on World Cup matches and qualifying events.

Lawmakers in the 2022 Legislative Session approved a $650 million tax-cut package that includes broad-based savings for most Floridians.

One of the largest portions of the package (HB 7071) is a $200 million gas tax cut, which will run during the month of October and shave about a quarter off of the price of a gallon of gas.

The final bill also included sales tax holidays for back-to-school items (July 25 to Aug.7), hurricane preparedness items (May 28 – June 10), cultural event tickets (July 1-7) and skilled worker tools (Sept. 3-9).

But the tax-cut package also includes savings that won’t be realized at the pump or cash register. One of the beneficiaries is Orlando, which hopes to be selected as a host site for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The quadrennial tournament is the marquee event of the soccer — or football — world, drawing in millions of fans from across the globe and pumping billions into the economy of the host cities and countries.

In 2026, the World Cup is heading to North America, with the United State sharing hosting duties alongside Canada and Mexico. While the nations have been selected, the specific venues for World Cup matches and qualifying events are up for grabs, and Orlando wants in.

The city, represented by GrayRobinson lobbyists Chris Carmody and Robert Stuart, pitched lawmakers on a sales tax abatement for World Cup tickets. The tax cut resembles those already in place for NFL, NBA and NHL events and would give Orlando and fellow finalist city Miami a leg up against other locations vying to host some games.

As lawmakers negotiated the final package, Carmody and Stuart put the ball in the back of the goal by convincing House Ways and Means Committee Chair Bobby Payne that the plan would help Florida land some games, and by extension provide a sizable boost to the state economy.

“On behalf of our 2026 FIFA World Cup Pursuit Team and Organizing Committee here in Greater Orlando, we want to thank the Legislature and Governor (Ron) DeSantis for supporting this admission tax exemption that will assist our efforts as we look to secure host city status for the soccer matches that would be played at Camping World Stadium in the summer of 2026,” Greater Orlando Sports Commission President and CEO Jason Siegel said.

Here’s hoping Orlando and Miami score big and become FIFA World Cup host sites.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


One comment

  • Larry Gillis

    April 4, 2022 at 9:17 am

    ” … this admission tax exemption … will assist our efforts … ”

    Please remember that this tax favoritism — like ALL forms of tax favoritism — will be subsidized by the rest of us.

    The Libertarian Party is opposed to special deals like this. As you may already know — when it comes to taxes — we prefer the “Vince Lombardi rule”: treat us ALL like dogs, not just some of us.

    Larry Gillis, Libertarian (Cape Coral)

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