Knights' Winning Season Lifts University, Community, Economist Says
December 31, 2013 | WMFE - The University of Central Florida's most successful football season ever is a win for the community. That's according to UCF economist Sean Snaith. He says enthusiasm for a season capped by the Knights' first-ever BCS game is lifting the university and surrounding restaurants and hotels.
It's been a thrilling season for the Knights. The 15th-ranked University of Central Florida will face sixth-ranked Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday.
Snaith says the excitement is lifting game attendance, merchandise sales and the surrounding community as fans travel from farther distances for tailgating.
He estimates the impact in the millions of dollars.
"If you think about a program that in the not-too-distant past didn't have a stadium on campus, and so those games were being played downtown at the Citrus Bowl. And so what impact did a game have on the UCF area?"
Contrast that with the University of Florida. The Gators suffered their first losing season in 34 years.
"One season doesn't necessarily make a trend, and I suspect when the season begins next year the expectations and enthusiasm that waned throughout this season will return."
Snaith says the impact is greater at UCF.
He says the season puts the Knights on the same level as the state's more established programs like the Gators and Florida State University, which will play for the national championship.
That raises the profile of the nation's second-largest university.