Florida Classic organizers struggle to fill seats

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ORLANDO, Fla. - November's normally popular Florida Classic game between Florida A&M University and Bethune Cookman University in Orlando is coming up short on fans.

Crews were setting up for Saturday's Florida Classic on Wednesday, but with no Battle of the Bands halftime show, many people aren't going to the game.

"It's not going to be the same, because you only have one band, not going to have the other band to compete," said FAMU law student Shameka Clair.

The FAMU band is still suspended and hasn't performed since last year's Florida Classic.

FAMU drum major Robert Champion was beaten to death on a charter bus outside an Orlando hotel during an alleged hazing ritual.

Organizers will only say that they haven't sold enough tickets to keep the upper bowl at the Citrus Bowl open.

During the Florida Classic, the stadium is typically at-capacity, with 60,000 tickets sold.

The upper bowl holds 18,000 people, and those who did buy seats there will be relocated to seats in the lower bowl when they show up to Saturday's game.

"People have got to understand this is important," said city of Orlando Commissioner Daisy Lynum.

The stadium and game are in Lynum's district.

She said people should be focused on what matters.

Last year, each school got $1,000,000 from net proceeds.

"It's about having this reunion and raising money for scholarships and to help those colleges operate,” she said.

Records show the fans poured $30,000,000 into the local economy, so the city takes a hit, too.

The Bethune Cookman band will still perform at halftime with R&B singer Charlie Wilson.