Classic, more than a game

Organizers of the Walt Disney World Florida Classic expect large substantial revenue from this year’s rivalry between Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University.

“Last year we were able to bring to both schools, FAMU and Bethune-Cookman, $1.35 million each, and that was after all bills were paid,” said Steve Hogan, the executive director of the Florida Citrus Sports.

Hogan said money from the Classic are raised from ticket sales, commercial spots and corporate sponsorships.

“Besides raising money for educational initiatives, the Florida Classic builds relationships on a national level,” Hogan said.

According to a Nov. 1 press release from the Florida Citrus Sports, a not-for-profit event management company, last year’s crowd, which was the seventh straight game with 70,000 or more in attendance, has drawn in excess of 1.3 million fans since 1978. “…With nationally-regarded programs in Tallahassee and Daytona Beach, and the support of title sponsor Walt Disney World and presenting sponsor State Farm, this year is shaping up to be yet another success.”

Although the Florida Classic serves as a fundraiser for the participating universities, it is FAMU’s largest recruitment initiative.

“It [Florida Classic] is very crucial. We have a gala that brings in extra revenue to the university,” said Jeremy Mounticure, Mr. FAMU.

Mounticure, a 21-year-old senior business administration student from Birmingham, said the Florida Classic acts as a way for FAMU to interact with potential and current students and parents.

For James Bland, FAMU Student Government Association vice-president and Titusville native, the Walt Disney World Florida Classic was the primary reason he attended FAMU. “It plays a huge role and especially with myself being from the area,” said Bland, 21, a fourth-year business administration student. “The Classic was the first thing I knew about FAMU,” Bland added. “If I knew nothing else