Brevard weighing $2M sponsorship with UCF for tiki-themed stadium section

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

The University of Central Florida Knights stunned the nation with their Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor on Wednesday.

Channel 9 has learned Brevard County leaders may now get a piece of the attention by putting its name on a new seating area at the Knights' Brighthouse Networks Stadium.

UCF approached Brevard County's Tourism Development Council about sponsoring a Florida-themed section in the stadium, which would have a tiki beach feel to it.

"The idea is to deliver a whole new feel to the east side of our stadium," said UCF athletic director Mark Wright.

 Leaders in Brevard are now weighing whether the $2 million investment could help bring more visitors to their beaches.

Palm Bay Mayor William Capote sits on the Brevard Tourism Development council and is onboard with the plan.

"Why not jump on board with them?" said Capote. "As it's growing, it's going to create such a positive outlook for the Space Coast."

The idea behind the tiki area is to allow fans watching the game on major television networks to see football fans in warmer weather and possibly persuade them into booking not just a trip to Orlando, but Brevard's coastline as well. The section would seat up to 1,900 people.

But Brevard's tourism bed tax is generated countywide not just at the beach, and some other council members worry an opportunity to advertise at UCF will only bring in day-trip traffic, which wouldn’t replenish the tax dollars used.

"People all over the nation and internationally are going to know where Brevard County and the Space Coast is at.  What marketing!" said Capote.

But Channel 9 found if Brevard doesn't act fast, they could miss out on the marketing opportunity as UCF has made proposals to at least six entities and on the heels of the Fiesta Bowl victory, more inquiries about partnerships have been coming in, officials said.

"I believe we're on a different level now and the Fiesta Bowl championship will open doors and open eyes across the nation," said Wright.