UCF leads Central Florida sports groups pushing to grow fan base – Orlando Sentinel
University of Central Florida athletics director Danny White turned toward the cellphone camera moments after the Knights won the Peach Bowl and set the course for a bold marketing strategy.
“National champs. Undefeated,” White said emphatically.
The Knights had just completed a historic 13-0 season, defeating a formidable Auburn team. UCF finished 2017 as the sole undefeated team in the country and argued it deserved to be known as the national champs.
White quickly developed a tactical plan to build on the Knights’ success and spark growth. The surge puts UCF in a stronger position to make major strides outlined in a strategic plan White helped develop last year.
And it’s a formula other Orlando-area teams would love to follow as they each push to grow their fan support and generate more buzz in 2018.
As UCF hosted a parade at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and a downtown block party, thousands showed up to shower the football team with support. White did extensive national television interviews, touting the Knights’ success and demanding changes to the current system that didn’t allow them to compete for a title on the field. He agreed to pay former coach Scott Frost’s staff $325,000 in bonuses for winning a national title and ordered national-title rings for the players. The school sold extensive national-championship celebration clothing.
It was more than just a victory lap that drew considerable criticism from those who aren’t UCF fans.
UCF’s national-title claim has generated more than 10,400 news media hits on television, the Internet and in print, which translated to about $17.5 million of exposure value for the university when compared to traditional advertising, according to analytics firm Joyce Julius & Associates.
The Knights have added at least 100