ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: UCF // The UCF Athletic Association and FBC Mortgage, LLC, have combined on a naming rights agreement for the Knights’ home football stadium that takes effect beginning with the upcoming 2022 season and will brand the UCF football venue as FBC Mortgage Stadium.
The 10-year, $19.5 million deal means UCF football teams will play their home games in FBC Mortgage Stadium through the 2031 football season. The new arrangement begins July 1–following its approval today by the UCF Board of Trustees.
“It’s an exciting day for UCF Athletics and for FBC Mortgage to be able to collaborate on the naming of our football stadium,” says Terry Mohajir, UCF vice president and director of athletics.
“Sellouts have become the norm at UCF. Our game day experience has been widely recognized–and I believe it is second to no one. Knight Nation has established the atmosphere at FBC Mortgage Stadium as one of the best in the country.
“We are building the future of college football here at UCF. This represents the next step for us as we reimagine our football campus—and we’re excited to have FBC Mortgage join us on our journey.”
“FBC was founded in 2005 in downtown Orlando, and we are very proud to partner with our hometown university, UCF,” says Rob Nunziata, FBC Mortgage co-CEO. “We would like to thank the UCF athletic department, especially athletics director Terry Mohajir and assistant athletics director Malik Thomas who worked very hard to make this sponsorship a reality…Go Knights!!”
“With many of our employees having attended UCF, this was a natural fit for FBC Mortgage–and it also helps us achieve our national growth expansion with a great partner in UCF,” says Joe Nunziata, FBC Mortgage co-CEO.
The first UCF football game to be played at FBC Mortgage Stadium will be the Knights’ 2022 season opener Thursday, Sept. 1, against South Carolina State (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+).
“On behalf of our football program, I would like to express our appreciation for the support of FBC Mortgage,” says UCF football coach Gus Malzahn whose first Knight team in 2021 finished 7-0 at home.
“This provides a legitimate boost to us when it comes to creating a great homefield advantage. We take tremendous pride in the environment at our home football games–and this only adds more luster to that.”
The crown jewel in UCF’s impressive athletics complex, the Knights’ football venue–first known as Bright House Networks Stadium–opened in 2007 and became Spectrum Stadium in 2017. The on-campus facility provides UCF one of the top venues anywhere in the Southeast. After spending the previous 28 seasons at the Florida Citrus Bowl (now known as Camping World Stadium) in downtown Orlando, the Knights made their debut in the new on-campus facility on Sept. 15, 2007, facing Texas. A capacity crowd was on hand for the game, which was televised live nationally on ESPN2. Two seasons later when UCF played host to Miami on Oct. 17, 2009, a facility-record 48,453 fans were on hand for the contest.
It has played host to conference championship games (Conference USA or American Athletic Conference) after the 2007, 2010, 2017 and 2018 regular seasons. Located on the north side of campus, the stadium features luxury boxes, a large club lounge and a natural grass playing surface.
UCF’s gameday football facility has added an impressive series of enhancements over the last seven years:
–2015: The stadium enjoyed its first major renovation with the addition of the Carl Black and Gold Cabana. This east-side premium area quickly became one of the signature UCF game-day experiences. The Cabana is a 10,000-square-foot, Florida-themed social area and lounge located between the 30-yard lines.
–2016: The video board was upgraded to a 114-by-36-foot LED display. It features a Daktronics 15MM HD pixel layout for excellent image clarity. The display also has variable content zoning, allowing it to show one large image or be divided into multiple windows to show any variety of live video, instant replays, statistics, scoring, graphics, animations and sponsorship messages.
–2017: The Carl Black and Gold Cabana was expanded via 2,921 additional chair-back seats and an open-air sun deck. Eight field-level cabanas also were added at the south end zone with access to the enclosed air-conditioned J and J Rosengren Lounge. The concourse between sections 108-113 was converted into the Stadium Club. That 3,344-seat premium area on the west side of the stadium provides access to dedicated food and drink options, as well as other amenities. In addition, a ribbon display in the south end zone was unveiled, with that display measuring more than seven feet high by 199 feet wide.
–2018: Field-level cabanas were added at the north end as well as south loge cabanas.
–2019: North loge cabanas debuted, and an additional 1,000 premium chair-back seats were added on the east side of the stadium, increasing the capacity of the Carl Black and Gold Cabana for a second time.
ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation Announce Title Sponsor of 2022 Cure Bowl
ORLANDO, Fla. – Duluth Trading Company will be the title sponsor of the 2022 Cure Bowl, ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation announced today. The 2022 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl will be played at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16 at Exploria Stadium – home of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC – and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl matchup will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 4 with participating teams from the American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA or Mid-American Conference.
“We are honored to have such a strong national brand like Duluth Trading Company join as title sponsor of the 2022 Cure Bowl, as the bowl continues its mission of bringing teams together to find a cure for cancer,” said Cure Bowl Executive Director and Orlando Sports Foundation CEO Alan Gooch.
“Duluth Trading Co. is proud to support the fight against cancer as the title sponsor of the Cure Bowl,” said Neala Shepherd, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience. “At Duluth Trading, we acknowledge the impact that cancer has had on the lives of our customers, employees and communities. Regardless of who you are cheering for, the one thing that unites all college football fans is the hope for a world without cancer.”
The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl is one of 17 college football bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.
UCF and Icon Source Collaborate to Bring NIL Marketplace Services to Campus
ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF Athletics announced Tuesday a collaboration with Icon Source, the premier name, image, and likeness marketplace in the U.S., to bring its unparalleled NIL expertise and new local exchange marketplace to UCF Athletics and student-athletes from all sports.
A new product from Icon Source, Icon Suite, will power a UCF-branded local exchange that will be available to all UCF student-athletes. The innovative tool simplifies connecting interested brands with student-athletes for NIL deals and the administrative processes around deal disclosure and compliance for UCF Athletics.
Icon Suite makes it easier than ever for local companies and Knight supporters to readily identify and access student-athletes for potential endorsement and sponsorship deals through a custom UCF marketplace. Through UCF’s Icon Suite software, Icon Source can also service local businesses and alumni by providing guidance, education, and facilitation of the student-athlete sponsorship process.
“Our student-athletes will have the best opportunities to benefit from their name, image, and likeness thanks to this first-of-its-kind venture,” said UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir. “We’re setting the standard by bringing the marketplace to our student-athletes.”
As part of the collaboration, an Icon Source representative will be housed on UCF’s campus as an on-site resource for student-athletes. This is a new NIL service for UCF student-athletes, going along with the free legal and entrepreneurship services already provided to students on-campus.
Florida’s NIL law prohibits colleges and universities from compensating current and prospective student-athletes for NIL deals. UCF’s collaboration with Icon Source simplifies the process for student-athletes and corporate sponsors. These services are provided at cost to the athletes and with no compensation to the university.
“By bringing the marketplace to our campus, it gives our student-athletes the greatest advantage to prosper in this new era of NIL,” Mohajir said. “Icon Source is one of the leaders in this space and having them right here on our campus will give our student-athletes and associated brands optimal opportunities to benefit!”
Founded in 2018 by UCF alumnus and current chief executive officer Chase Garrett, Icon Source has been a trusted tool for professional athletes across all sports and their agents to connect with a broad group of brands and facilitate seamless endorsement deals and partnerships. In 2021, Icon Source expanded that work into the NCAA realm, working tirelessly to empower and protect student-athletes as they maximize their NIL potential.
Numerous national to hyper-local brands have directly connected with and endorsed student-athletes through Icon Source’s compliant marketplace and executed contracts using the marketplace’s wizard, which handles all the administrative aspects of name, image, and likeness dealmaking.
2022 Vrbo Citrus Bowl: Kentucky Wildcats Dominate Iowa Hawkeyes, 20-17
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Kentucky Wildcats and Iowa Hawkeyes clashed hard for the Vrbo Citrus Bowl trophy before a roaring audience of over 50,700 fans at Camping World Stadium Saturday.
Kentucky got on the board first in the first quarter with Will Levis’s five-yard touchdown pass to Chris Rodriguez, and the defense ensured Iowa didn’t score at all in the first.
It’s worth noting that Kentucky’s defense needed to protect quarterback Will Levis a bit more, though. He first sack came in the first quarter.
Iowa finally got on the board early in the second quarter with a 28-yard field goal from Caleb Shudak at just over 11 minutes.
Though there were no touchdowns in the second quarter, Kentucky dominated the board.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis got sacked twice in the second for a loss of eight yards each, but he made up for his second sack on the very next play.
On the third down, he threw a 34-yard bomb to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, who simultaneously nullified the 26 yards needed for the next first down plus gained eight for Kentucky. With 2:45 left in the first half, Kentucky’s Matt Ruffolo kicked a 21-yard field goal on the fourth down, since Iowa defense blocked the run game–which Kentucky quarterback Will Levis attempted himself.
Just as the clock hit zero for halftime, Iowa’s final play, Spencer Petras’ touchdown pass to Sam LaPorta, was intercepted by Kentucky’s Quandre Mosely right in the end zone, conveniently switching possession to Kentucky for third quarter.
With 3:21 left in the third quarter, Iowa finally got on the board with their first touchdown, courtesy of Arland Bruce IV running the ball 20 yards into the end zone. With the successful extra point, Iowa shrank Kentucky’s lead to 13-10.
Iowa scored their next touchdown–and snatched the lead–in the fourth quarter with just under 11 minutes left in the game, thanks to Spencer Petras’ successful 36-yard touchdown pass to Sam LaPorta, making the score 17-13.
When the win looked sure for Iowa, Kentucky made the ultimate comeback with Will Levis’s 52-yard pass to Wan’Dale Robinson who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. In a pulse-pounding moment, the touchdown was nullified due to a false start penalty on Kentucky.
On the next play, Kentucky doubled down and got the touchdown for real thanks to Chris Rodriguez’s five-yard rush with 1:48 left in the fourth, reclaiming the lead, 20-17.
To add insult to injury, on Iowa’s following possession, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras’ pass got intercepted by Deandre Square with just 48 seconds left in the game.
In the end, the Kentucky Wildcats nabbed the Vrbo Citrus Bowl trophy from the jaws of near-defeat, 20-17.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com