ORLANDO, Fla. – The Knights will play their first home football game of the 2020 season at the Bounce House Saturday night, but there are a few things fans need to know.
When the fans enter the stadium to watch the University of Central Florida Knights take on the University of Tulsa, there will be new spectator rules meant to keep fans safe from the coronavirus pandemic while giving them the opportunity to watch Orlando’s hometown team play.
UCF has made sure to add additional messaging that corresponds with the rules outlined below.
- “Face Covering Required”: Spectators are required to wear face coverings at all times—other than when actively eating or drinking in their own seats.
- “Keep Your Distance”: Fans are required to practice physical distancing.
- “Wash Your Hands”: Proper hygiene and handwashing are strongly encouraged.
- “Know Your Zone”: Fans are assigned to enter a specific stadium gate adjacent to the zone in which their seats are located.
Tailgating will be prohibited in order to reduce the risk of large gatherings. There will be no open-container waiver on UCF game days, meaning fans cannot consume alcohol on campus grounds or in parking lots or garages.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes at venues all over the country, including fan-favorite stadiums like the Bounce House.
Local health conditions and regulations determine the number of fans allowed. At UCF, the stadium will have a maximum 25% capacity, which is about 11,000 spectators. The university has allotted 3,000 seats for students. These decisions came after consultations with local Florida Department of Health representatives.
“We all came to the stadium and developed a plan for 25% capacity,” said Brian Barton, UCF’s senior associate athletics director for facility and event management. “That was the biggest piece to get in place.”
UCF also further explained its decision for restricted access for fans within a series of zones.
“The zones were key because they triggered everything else, from parking to the gate you enter,” Barton said. "The directive we received was to try to limit people from interacting because that’s less chance for spread. We initially looked at four quadrants and then we expanded it to seven to make it even more robust. The intent is to have fans park as close to their gates as they can, enter that gate and get to their seats—in the least amount of time, with the least amount of distance to cover--and interact with as few people along the way as is realistic. That was a big domino.”
Once fans enter the Bounce House they’ll be reminded of a variety of changes within the venue, which are also provided in UCF’s A-Z guide for the season linked here.
Below are some main takeaways from the university’s guide:
- Digital ticketing to provide touchless gate entry
- General admission seating within zones
- Installation of hand sanitizer kiosks around the stadium
- Enhanced cleaning in advance and during the game of all high-touch surfaces
- Pre-packaged food items and condiments at concession stands
- Plexiglass shields at concession points of sale
There will be photo opportunities with UCF mascots and a performance from the Marching Knights pep band with members of the spirit team, according to the university. However, many of the traditional pregame festivities such as Knight Walk, March to Victory, the Kids Zone and the like have been suspended for the 2020 football season.
Per American Athletic Conference rules, there will be no on-field performances by the home team band, no spirit squads on the field to start the season and no visiting team bands or spirit squads permitted. The Marching Knights and spirit teams will still have a presence in the stadium bowl.
Barton said despite some changes to traditions, the Knight spirit will be alive and well -- it’s just up to fans to keep up the hype and follow the rules.
“We need them to understand that this is the way to have football in 2020. We’ve got to go out of our way to make this work, after a great amount of work by a great amount of people on the plan," he said. “We want to continue to have fans at our games—and, if we can make this work, there’s a chance we could have additional numbers of fans in attendance at future games.”
There are still tickets available for the UCF and Tulsa game Saturday. People can purchase tickets using this link.
The Knights will take the field Saturday at 7:35 p.m.
Other home games are scheduled for Oct. 24 against Tulane, Temple on Nov. 14 and Cincinnati on Nov. 21.