UCF seeks Space Coast as stadium partner

ORLANDO, Fla. – University of Central Florida football is coming off its best season ever -- a 12-1 record, American Athletic Conference champs, and Wednesday they beat Baylor. The win was the school's first-ever BCS bowl game win.

In the days leading up to the Fiesta Bowl, UCF athletic officials were being proactive. In 2015, the university hopes to unveil a new section of the stadium -- the "UCF Beach Club" -- an open-air, Florida-themed seating area and UCF offered the Space Coast Office of Tourism the section's naming rights.

"If we want to reach the future customers this is a good idea," said Rob Varley, the executive director for the Space Coast Tourist Development Council.

Varley says during their December meeting, UCF officials pitched the idea to his board saying that the new section of the stadium could have a name promoting the Space Coast, like Orlando's closest beach.

The name would be seen during all televised games and by fans within the stadium, a marketing idea Cocoa resident Dixie Reese is on board with.

Reese said, "For different age groups and for alumni to come down here from UCF and go to Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, or the space center and say, "Let's go revisit that area," is a good thing."

But although tourism officials like the idea, they say the asking price of $2 million spread over 10 years is too pricey for their $4 million annual budget.

Varley says that if Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex, Ron Jon's or Port Canaveral would want to share the partnership -- he'd be all in.

"Maybe we can't be the big dog, but maybe we can take a little bite of something else," said Varley.

UCF says they're going to be coming back to Space Coast tourism officials with more details as they get them, and will need a commitment by this summer.

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