UWF football “breaks ground” with Maritime Park deal

 

UWF head football coach Pete Shinnick speaks to a crowd of players at the first annual UWF 1-Day Football Camp.
Photo by John Blackie. Courtesy of UWF Athletics.

The University of West Florida football program was cleared to showcase themselves at downtown Pensacola’s Maritime Park Stadium, and the campus saw its first football action this summer as the program continued to take form.

The 5,100-seat Pensacola Bayfront Stadium’s managing body, the Community Maritime Park Associates Board of Trustees, approved the UWF Community Maritime Use Agreement Wednesday afternoon.

UWF President Judith Bense’s signature finalized the pact later that day.

“It is a historic day for UWF, for Pensacola, and for the CMPA board,” Bense said. “UWF football will take the field in the Community Maritime Park in the fall of 2016. We couldn’t be more pleased and appreciate the spirit of cooperation of everyone involved.”

UWF and CMPA had agreed, in concept, to an arrangement in September of 2013, but the pact’s consummation was delayed due to, “some minor adjustments made to the language [in the contract] as requested by CMPA’s attorney’s,” CMPA spokesperson Edward Spears said in an email.

The agreement states that home games “will generally be held on Saturdays,” and allows UWF the right to use the multi-use stadium, the Amphitheater, the festival grounds, the exhibition grounds and parking area between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.   Certain home games may be played on Thursday nights, according to the terms of the contract.

In return, UWF will pay a user fee of $5,000 for every home game, inclusive of post-season contests. In addition, a $1 surcharge will be included in most ticket prices, which will be paid to the CMPA. Concession rights within the stadium are retained by Northwest Florida Professional Baseball, owners of the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league baseball affiliate Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

UWF “retain(s) any and all other revenue streams that may be generated through its use of the UWF Use Area.” This includes media rights, parking fees and merchandise sold. The university may also “allow food vendors outside of the stadium,” by which they may profit.

The length of the contract is two years, and will be effective as of Aug. 15, 2016. UWF has the option of extending the contract for three additional one-year terms.

The contract also states that, “All parties agree to utilize the best efforts to schedule the 2016 Inaugural UWF Football Game at the Community Maritime Park.”

On campus, head coach Pete Shinnick and his staff “broke ground” this past July as they launched the program’s first “UWF 1-Day Football Camp.”

For Shinnick, assistant head coach Steve Saulnier and offensive coordinator Jammie Deese, it was their first opportunity to view potential recruits, introduce them to the campus and give them an idea of what the program will be about, according to a July 14 release on the UWF Athletics’ website.

The clinic, and the more than 200 players who attended, were the first fruits of the fledging program as it moves toward its September 2016 unveiling.

“One of the upcoming milestones will be signing day on Feb. 4 [2015.] That will be the team’s first opportunity to sign incoming players,” director of athletic communications Matt Rowley said, via email.

Jason Dustin
Staff Writer