Aidan Lindsey remembers standing in the packed crowd wearing his black and gold outfit and feeling the bleachers bounce.
In the spirit of the moment, Lindsey didn’t know he was in the Bounce House. The name didn’t matter, just the energy surrounding it.
The freshman criminal justice student enjoyed his first game of football during Parents’ Weekend last season. Lindsey sips her iced coffee and looks at the tables at Chick-fil-A and notices that many students were seated alone. He said that isolation goes away on game days.
“On that day, everyone comes together. We are a community,” Lindsey said.
UCF sold 93% of his season ticket allocations for the 2021 home football season. However, something was different in 2021 compared to previous seasons; the stadium had no official sponsor.
Lindsey may not be worried about the name of the stadium, but the board and UCF Athletics are actively looking for a sponsor to sign a stadium rights deal. The football site has remained without a sponsor since August 2020.
“They are actively looking for a partner to secure the naming rights to the stadium. We will update you when we have any news to share regarding a naming rights deal,” UCF spokesman Chad Binette said. , in an email on UCF Athletics.
The BOT had a meeting scheduled for August 26, 2021 with 3MG Roofing for a rights agreement worth $20 million over 12 years, according to the August 2021 BOT agenda.
This meeting has been cancelled, as reported on NSM Today. There have been no updates on stadium rights since then. The Knights played at the Bounce House in the 2020-21 season.
“UCF Athletics and 3MG Solutions finalized a partnership agreement last fall,” Binette said. “Because this partnership did not include naming rights for the football stadium, it did not require BOT approval.”
The partnership was finalized in January 2021 as UCF Athletics announcement that 3MG Roofing is the official roofing partner of UCF Athletics, Binette said.
“I think if UCF wants [a stadium rights deal], they will be successful,” said Paul Sickmon, President and CEO of Knox Sports Marketing. “These things take time.”
Those deals can take anywhere from six months to three years, Sickmon said.
Sickmon has live working with sports sponsors, spending 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and working in the marketing department at Florida State University.
Sickmon acknowledged the history of the UCF football site, which opened in 2007 with a sponsorship deal with Bright House Networks. This agreement was for 15 million dollars for 15 years. The company was renamed Spectrum, leading to the venue’s family name, Spectrum Stadium.
Sickmon said it was odd that UCF was opening a new venue with tied sponsorship. He said other schools in Florida don’t even have sponsors for their sites.
“It was unusual to open a building with a name,” Sickmon said.
The University of Florida plays in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, named after the UF alumnus and citrus grower. The FSU venue is named after Doak Campbell, president of FSU in 1957. One exception is that the University of Miami plays in Hard Rock Stadium, which is also home to the Miami Dolphins.
Another quirk is that UCF handles its sponsorship rights internally, Sickmon said.
The norm would be to have a company, like Learfieldhandle the business of getting a new sponsor, Sickmon said.
Learfield manages media rights for intercollegiate athletic departments, and its services range from in-stadium advertising signage, to marketing and even arena naming rights.
“Ninety percent of colleges nationwide. All of these schools have a reseller,” Sickmon said. “A few years ago UCF kicked Learfield out and walked into the house.”
John Heisler, UCF’s senior assistant athletic director, also handles strategic communications for UCF Athletics. He said that Learfield’s starting change happened a long time ago and it doesn’t cause any problems for UCF.
“I don’t hear any suggestion of a plan to change that,” Heisler said.
Learfield released an intercollegiate fan report in 2021 which revealed that college sports fans are the largest and most affluent fan base.
That valuation may sound appealing to businesses, but choosing the right brand can determine success, Sickmon said.
“I think they’re incredibly effective, but you have to be smart,” Sickmon said of sponsorships and stadium rights in college sports.
The name “Bounce House” has tradition at UCF. When Zombie Nation’s “KernKraft 400” explodes during a game, the crowd cheers and jumps to give the stadium a bouncy feel.
“If the official name changes, we’ll still call it the Bounce House,” said freshman mechanical engineering student Adrian Jagprashad.
Students have mixed feelings if UCF changes its name due to new stadium rights.
“I feel like it would get more attention,” said Jermey Medina, a sophomore in information technology.
While Medina is more optimistic if UCF finds a related sponsor for its football site, another student likes the current name.
“I think it’s a really good name with tradition,” said first-year civil engineering student Brett Anderson.
Lindsey, a native of Tampa, was grateful to even have a stadium on campus because the school closest to him, the University of South Florida, did not have one.
Lindsey also wished she had been in more games last season. He is confident, however, that UCF fans will always carry the same energy and sense of community to any home game, regardless of the name of the stadium.
“Whether it’s sponsored or not, it doesn’t matter,” Lindsey said. “I think the vibe would stay the same.”