UCF is making moves to fill stadium — one step at a time
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 23:02
UCF has a major problem.
It’s no secret that UCF students aren’t quite as involved with the athletic program as they could be. It’s not a revolutionary concept that a half-empty football stadium and unfilled first-row seats at the UCF Arena are pitiful at the nation’s second-largest university.
For a school that boasts an enrollment of more than 60,000, there’s no reason to have zero sellouts out of six home games. It’s crazy to think there are about 15,000 more students enrolled at the school than there are seats at Bright House Networks Stadium.
Not to mention the 100,000 alumni that live in the Central Florida area, thousands of general sports fans in the city of Orlando and the thousand or so fans who come to support the other team.
From the outside looking in, the numbers just don’t add up.
But being on campus, talking to students and being one myself, it becomes clearer that the atmosphere at UCF just isn’t right.
Students, alumni and the general fan just don’t care enough.
It’s confusing for some people, it’s frustrating for the die-hard supporters and it’s disappointing for coaches and student-athletes.
But it’s something that UCF marketing is trying to change.
It’s not going to be easy, it’s not a one-man job and it’s long overdue.
But, hey, at least they’re trying.
UCF athletics announced season ticket information on Thursday that basically said this: “Please come to the games.”
They’re trying to get young alumni in the seats and they’re trying to get students involved, and that is exactly what they should do.
The fact that UCF is willing to keep tickets the same price and, in some cases, cheaper shows that they get it.
On the precipice of UCF’s most exciting season, one in which they host South Carolina and USF, they decide to lower prices.
Yes, the one time UCF could actually raise prices because of the obvious improvement of the on-field product (even if it isn’t an improvement on UCF’s end), they decide to meet alumni and general fans halfway and offer reasonable prices.
Your move, young alumni. Your move, students. Your move, dude who lives in Oviedo and always says that it’s too expensive to take his kids to a football game.
There’s no longer the excuse that UCF plays garbage teams from Conference USA. South Carolina, Rutgers and USF come to town next year.
And if you’re staying home because you’d rather watch a different college team on TV, or you think that boycotting the games will convince President John C. Hitt to fire George O’Leary, then forget it.
Fixing that kind of fan takes a whole lot longer, and usually requires some sort of voodoo.
But for those students who were on the fence, to the young alumni who really care but just couldn’t afford it in this economy — UCF athletics is reaching out to you.
And, if you look at the numbers, that might just be enough to get a couple of sellouts next year.
Because when there’s a sellout, everyone wins.
When Roth Tower shakes because too many people are jumping to the beat of zombie nation, there’s a smile on my face.
Hopefully you feel the same way.