The University of Central Florida Athletics Association is considering allowing club patrons to bring alcohol to their seats for future men’s basketball games, similar to the freedom currently granted at UCF football games.
In an email exchange obtained by Knight News, Executive Associate Athletics Director David Hansen considered allowing club patrons at CFE Arena to bring alcohol to their seats as the administration prepares for the 2017-18 basketball season.
To allow the alcohol agreement in Spectrum Stadium, UCF Athletics installed separation barriers and tasked security to look out for the passing of the drinks over the barriers.
Hansen proposes to do the same at CFE Arena by installing two temporary barriers that can be removed for non-basketball events.
“Allowing club patrons to bring alcoholic beverages to their seats at the stadium has been a big positive from an operational standpoint, in my opinion,” Hansen said in the email.
“The biggest advantage has been less crowding in the club lounge. We also feel it has a positive impact on sales.”
Hansen proposed either 18″ or 36″ inch wide barriers to offer security personnel a space to spot the passing of objects. The 18″ inch barrier would “kill one vertical row of seats,” and the 36″ inch barrier, two, according to Hansen.
UCF Convocation Corporation General Manager Ronnie Lamkin noted in response that the choice of serving alcohol in the arena or not has traditionally been left to UCF Athletics and that a decision, either way, will be supported by the university.
Lamkin also backed the boost in sales mentioned by Hansen by stating that an increase in sales in the Black & Gold Club would, in turn, help the UCF Convocation Corporation.
Lamkin entertained the idea of allowing alcohol courtside, followed by a proposal in response by Hansen, although administrators wanted to view how other institutions allow alcohol at floor seats.
UCF Vice President of Communications and Marketing Grant Heston stated that UCF Police Chief Richard Beary is fine with the proposal although asked for fire marshall approval in seat changes that would affect ingress/egress.
UCF Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Services Maribeth Ehasz expressed concerned with the proposal.
Ehasz, according to Heston, believed club seats where alcohol would be allowed are too close to the student section, unlike at the stadium. Ehasz strongly opposed alcohol for floor seats as they would be an even more visual placement of alcohol, especially for TV.
Heston was in favor of the change, citing the stadium’s success with the policy.
These emails were obtained by public records request. Florida has a very broad open records law (F. S. 119) where e-mails may be subject to public disclosure.