No surprise, after the university released an artist’s rendering of the project, it saw some pushback online, with some questioning how the new cabanas might obstruct the views of fans in the stands.
One student even appeared to confirm suspicions of obscured views, when he tweeted that he sat in Row 1 in the bleachers in the end zone last season and said he “couldn’t see [crap]” thanks to a test cabana the school had set up.
Possible safety concerns for those in the cabanas also came under fire online, as some wondered whether the tents might be too close to the action.
UCF’s Associate Athletics Director Andy Seeley, however, told ESPN the positions where the tents will sit near the end zone are not accurately portrayed in the artist rendering, and that they sit several more feet behind the end zone than depicted. Seeley said the cabanas are also padded and have passed other safety requirements to protect both the people in the cabanas and the players on the field.
Not all the reaction has been negative about the new luxury seating options. According to press materials provided by the school, half of the cabanas have already sold out and the others are expected to sell out, as well.
“We had a waiting list for suites and we sold out of club seats, and that led us to do a new club area last year. But there was future interest from our market in more premium space, so we created more,” Seeley told ESPN about why the school decided to move forward with the end-zone cabana project.
“We’re committed to creating an awesome game day experience,” the school’s Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White said in a video posted by the school on Tuesday discussing some of the stadium’s new, hopefully revenue-producing features. “We want to have the most unique experience in all of college football as we strive to become Orlando’s hometown team and … a perennial Top 25 athletics department.”