Saturday’s home opener for UCF Football against South Carolina State will have the program’s 5 millionth gameday fan walk through the gates of Bright House Networks Stadium.
In 2007, the on-campus stadium began a seven year 40-11 record that ran through the 2014 season, welcoming its 2 millionth fan in 2015.
Prior to 2007, the Knights played at the Orlando Citrus Bowl (now Camping World Stadium) for 28 seasons while holding the record at 4,971,210 fans as the 2016-17 season kicks off September 3. It wasn’t until approval from the UCF Board of Trustees passed in 2005 that the stadium became a reality, with a determined effort from former head football coach George O’Leary, among others, to bring the stadium and soon proper training facilities to UCF’s main campus by Fall 2007 – when UCF opened at home against Texas on September 15.
That first game at home sold out. All 45,323 tickets officially sold out – a first in the program’s history at the time. Season tickets for the 2007-08 schedule made it to over 24,000 by the home opener, from 15,244 at the start of the 2006 season and 9,872 in 2005, in anticipation for what the team would hold. It was that year the ‘Golden Knights’ became the UCF Knights.
Now, the 2016 UCF Athletics will go through program-enterprising changes with goals of bringing UCF’s game attendance and season ticket holder numbers back to 2007 levels with new uniforms, branding, construction projects, and social media campaigns. Not to mention a completely renovated Knights Plaza in front of CFE Arena, planned to open for students and tailgating fans in time for the September 3rd game, and stadium video boards 640% larger than the previous video display.
A new coaching staff following O’Leary’s retirement, new team uniforms (white, gold, anthracite, and pewter) with 64 different combinations, as well as a revamped annual, and record-breaking, Spring game which brought 23 thousand fans, and the UCF FanFest, which brought thousands to Bright House Networks Stadium, have led the changes taken place since the New Year opened.
UCF’s now head football coach Scott Frost will take to his first Monday press conference for the regular season at UCF on August 29.
Knight News will be there to broadcast the coach and players’ interviews ahead of Saturday’s game.