SBD/September 24, 2013/Colleges

UCF Athletics Struggling With Funding Following Collapse Of Old Big East

UCF football games are averaging crowds well below capacity
TV revenue for the Univ. of Central Florida athletic department is $2M annually, below expectations of $12-20M per year and one of "many financial blows the Knights have endured" since the old Big East "fell apart," according to Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The school also is slated to collect $3M "less than expected from its naming-rights contract with Bright House Networks." Ticket sales and donations "are climbing slowly, but they're still short of 2007 figures and well below some peers." UCF in '07 opened a new football stadium and basketball arena, but it has "delayed renovating aging facilities or adding new ones." Despite a "growing alumni base, the Knights have failed to consistently pack their on-campus stadium." UCF's average attendance in '12 was 34,608, a 1% increase from '11 but "still well short of its capacity." The program made $4.43M in "total ticket sales last season," with $3.53M coming from football. The figure ranks behind the $7.94M collected by East Carolina and $6.02M collected by South Florida. Bright House Networks, which signed a 15-year, $15M deal for naming rights to the stadium in '07, has "invoked a clause allowing it to renegotiate the contract." The cable company will pay $7M "during the remaining 10 years of the deal" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/22). Tenorio noted former Disney Attractions Chair Dick Nunis also is the former chair of UCF's BOT, and wondered why there is not "more of a partnership between UCF and Disney." Nunis said, "We will in the future begin adding pre-shows and halftime shows that (the families) will want to come and see." He added, "We have some ideas on selling tickets that Disney and Universal might be part of" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 9/23).
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