BOCA RATON – A new feature brought to FAU Stadium for the Boca Raton Bowl could become a permanent luxury for FAU fans.
For the third annual Boca Bowl, organizers removed nine rows of seats in the north (closed) end zone, replacing them with outdoor suites.
“The good thing about the way this game is set up is that it allows a partner to come in and look at our assets and give anyone a look,” FAU athletic director Pat Chun said. “I’ve seen both schools are sending their staffs to our stadium just giving ideas about what to do.”
ESPN, which runs the Boca Bowl, sold the outdoor suites for $3,000.
The tented suites featured couches and a wet bar, along with added security to ensure casual fans didn’t sneak in.
“It’s nice that ESPN is really creative with their game and allows us to kind of look at what may work for us and may not work for us,” Chun said. “I’m interested to see what the feedback is from the bowl people to see if the customers really liked it.”
If FAU did create an outdoor suite level, it likely wouldn’t be in the same spot.
That end of the stadium is reserved for the student section. Putting those suites in the student section does more than remove nine rows of seating.
The height of the tents covering the suites obstructs the view of anyone sitting behind them, further limiting the amount of student seating.
“We could not do that there because of the students,” Chun said. “Our students are committed to being on that side of the stadium.”
That wasn’t a problem during the Boca Raton Bowl, which doesn’t have to guarantee seats for FAU students.
Should FAU decide it wants to incorporate the outdoor suites they could be relocated to the visitors sideline or even behind the band in the open (south) end zone.
FAU might also have to add some more amenities – televisions, mist machines to help patrons stay cool during September games – to make the outdoor suites more attractive.
Nearly 25,000 tickets were sold for the Boca Raton Bowl. Another 1.9 million watched on television, according to SportsMediaWatch.com, a total that marked a 19 percent decrease from 2015’s game pitting Temple against Toledo.
On Tuesday Western Kentucky defeated Memphis 51-31.