Fans of UCF’s football team are having a difficult time of sticking to sports.
That’s the result of what appears to be meddling in the Knights’ affairs in the past few weeks from politicians and lobbyists out of the state capital. According to an Orlando Sentinel column, a lucrative naming-rights deal for the football stadium was recently torpedoed at their behest:
According to Sentinel sources, the influential insurance industry and several prominent state politicians intervened behind the scenes to cancel the UCF and FAU naming-rights deals with Roofclaim.com. The UCF deal would have been worth $35 million for 15 years — a figure that Danny White said in a December meeting of the UCF Foundation Board of Directors would be the “third or fourth” most lucrative naming-rights deal in the history of college football.
The school had previously announced Roofclaim.com as a field sponsor prior to the 2019 season. The new deal with the company appeared to be an expansion of that as their stadium naming rights with Spectrum were reportedly set to expire this summer.
As the Sentinel notes, the folks in Tallahassee ended a similar deal with Florida Atlantic and their basketball arena. A recent bill was also introduced in the state legislature to formally allow politicians approval over such naming rights deals at public schools.
While UCF officials seemed to secure a pretty hefty pay day for their stadium name, it seems they couldn’t overcome a brewing battle that involves the insurance industry, an Atlanta roofing company and state politics. Now it’s back to the drawing board in Orlando as they try to weave that increasingly narrow path between the sporting world and everything outside it.