This Saturday the FAMU football team will play its annual rivalry classic game vs. Bethune-Cookman University.
The Florida Blue Florida Classic will be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. It features many sponsorships including McDonalds, Pepsi, Ford and others.
This game is usually highly anticipated and offers students an opportunity to visit Orlando. In a statement released by Florida Blue, the attendance to the game from past years combined is over 2 million people.
“The Florida Classic is more than just a football game and more than an in-state rivalry. It is now the nation’s largest football game between two Historically Black College/University (HBCU) schools, surpassing the Bayou Classic between Grambling and Southern in New Orleans as the top attended game in NCAA Division I-AA. Since its inception in 1978, the game has now seen over 2 million spectators attend the game (2,102,576).”
For many years, this game has marked the end of the semester and the beginning of Thanksgiving break. Year after year students flock to Orlando for the weekend, and some even stay for the rest of the week.
Aside from the game, there are many other events such as Fanfest, a diversity job fair, a kick-off luncheon and the annual Battle of the Bands.
This year, the hype behind the classic has been muted on FAMU’s campus. With the Orange Blossom Classic at the beginning of the semester and homecoming in late October, students are tired and more focused on their studies by the time the Orlando classic comes around.
Christopher Joseph, a third-year biology major from Atlanta, says he forgot about the classic until recently.
“I usually plan to go, but this year there was way too much going on, and now I’m broke and can’t go. I hope next year there’s more promo about it, so people will go,” Joseph said.
Taejon Williams, a second-year pre physical therapy major from Philadelphia, says he is on the fence about going.
“With finals around the corner it’s like I want to go, but I’m not sure if I should. A lot of my friends aren’t going, and I don’t want it to be boring if I do go. Maybe if I can get some more to come, I will go,” Williams said.
Despite the lack of excitement from students, the Florida Classic website states that this is a highly rated event in HBCU football.
“The Florida Classic is America’s #1 attended an HBCU football game. Each year as many as 65,000 fans pack Camping World Stadium and tens of thousands more travel to Orlando for the weekend’s festivities. Simply put, the Florida Classic game and ancillary events provide the foremost multicultural sports marketing opportunity in the nation. Proceeds from every sponsorship benefit educational opportunities on the campuses of Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University,” the website reports.
FAMU’s Office of University Housing is offering a Florida Classic bus trip for students that includes roundtrip transportation, hotel accommodations and game day tickets at a price tag of $400. As of Monday it had not sold out.