UCF Athletics Director Danny White spoke to the press Dec. 12 and addressed the concerns on social media after many fans had their Peach Bowl tickets refunded. (Screenshot, Vimeo)

Christian Failla purchased tickets to the New Year’s Peach Bowl game for him and his friends when they were up for sale Dec. 4. He was prepared to see the No.12 Knights take on No. 7 Auburn in Atlanta.

That is, until he, and others like him, received a phone call from UCF Athletics Monday evening.


“We actually did self-serve our allotment to season ticket holders here – of course, this is a season ticket holder benefit to receive first priority for those bowl game tickets, so they did take advantage of their benefit,” said a voice message, which was forwarded to Knight News by another fan.

Failla received a refund for the tickets as well as a couple of options: he could either buy tickets through a third-party website or from ones allotted to UCF by the American Athletic Conference.

For the second option, there was just one catch. He would first have to buy season tickets for the 2018 season.

“UCF Football is just trying to make more money,” he told Knight News. “Smart move on their part, but obviously doesn’t benefit me whatsoever.”

Failla already had his flight and hotel booked for the game when he received the call informing him that he will not be getting seats through UCF. He will still attend the game with his friends, but he will get the tickets through StubHub, which he said will cost him $179, slightly more than what he originally spent.

What happened to Failla isn’t uncommon. Other UCF fans received similar calls from the athletics department and took to social media to voice their outrage.

“I think this is outrageous….how can this bait and switch be legal? If the tickets were purchased how can they just be snatched away??” one user said.

Another user said: “8 of us put money in to get our tickets. Didn’t find out until after 10pm tonight that they didn’t have enough tickets to fulfill our order. #whytakeourmoney”

Granting season ticket holders and donors priority access to bowl games is nothing new, neither is asking would-be buyers to purchase season tickets before receiving priority. In fact, fans were told in advance that ticket requests were not guaranteed and were subject to priority and availability.

The 12,500 tickets meant for Knights fans quickly sold out after they were released to the public Dec. 4. Many students even ignored their final exams and camped outside Spectrum Stadium overnight to be among the first 500 people to secure their spots for the Jan. 1 game.

Athletic Director Danny White said at a press conference Tuesday after UCF was formally invited to the Peach Bowl that the orders went over the allotment by 800 tickets, adding that he is glad the team is facing “big program problems.”

“We are always going to honor our season ticket holders and [Golden Knights Club] donors first — people who support the program, we’re going to support them,” White said. “But we are working with the leadership of the Peach Bowl to work with those individuals to get them seats they are happy with for the game but also help them better position themselves for the future — be a season ticket holder, give to the GKC, get your priority points up.” 

The sellout of UCF’s ticket allotment has been considered by bowl officials to be perhaps one of the fastest in college football history and are expecting a full house at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium.

But those who bought their tickets through UCF see this as more than a simple inconvenience, particularly given that it will take three to five days for affected fans to get their money back, according to the UCF Knights Twitter account. This left some concerned that they will not receive their money back in time to purchase tickets before they sell out

Fans can buy tickets through sellers like StubHubTicketmaster and Vivid Seats and many who have taken this option have reported finding cheaper prices than what UCF was offering.