Game Day Safety Protocols for the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl
Boca Raton, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2020) – Everyone is already familiar with the challenges 2020 has placed on day-to-day living and working while at the same time keeping yourself and those around you healthy and safe. The new guidelines we endure each day have certainly made this a year we all want to put behind us and get back to our usual habits.
With that in mind, in 2020 how do you stage an event with two football teams, a stadium with fans in it, a television production crew for a national broadcast, game officials, ushers, food and beverage workers, janitorial and sanitation workers, and a games operations staff to bring all that together? That is seemingly a herculean task but rest assured there is a plan that has been months in the making.
The Seventh Annual RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl will certainly be like none of the other six editions that came before it. The event that earned the moniker “Boca’s biggest annual outdoor party” will be significantly subdued this year. The boisterous activities that preceded the game have been called off and even the usually busy bowl week schedule itself has been whittled down to a single event, the football game. But what a game it promises to be, matching up two of the highest-scoring offenses in all of college football in UCF and BYU. In a normal year this pairing would draw thousands of fans to FAU Stadium to take in the tilt, but this year’s requirements of social distancing permits only 6,000 people total in the stadium for the game.
“The health and safety of our residents and visitors to the Palm Beaches is our No. 1 priority,” said Glenn Jergensen, executive director of the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council. “We are fortunate that our partnership with ESPN and the City of Boca Raton share our desire to make the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl a safe sporting event for those able to attend plus an exciting bowl game on ESPN television to share the beauty of our destination just before our traditional winter season.”
Planning for the event under the special conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic stretches all the way back to the early summer when Palm Beach County Sports Commission executive director George Linley convened periodic virtual meetings with a group of area sports events organizers for wide-ranging discussions that focused first on the viability of having events and then on how to do so safely. All of the county’s largest events were represented in the meetings – the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, Major League Baseball spring training venues Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium and FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the ATP Tour’s Delray Beach Open, the Winter Equestrian Festival, International Polo Club as well as the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl, among others.
“Those meetings put together by the sports commission were incredibly valuable in terms of the information shared by George Linley and his staff as well as hearing the perspectives from others,” said RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl executive director Doug Mosley. “It gave all of us a look into the challenges Palm Beach County was facing and how they were not only handling them but also anticipating what was to come. If anything, it provided great confidence that there was a way through this.”
Florida Atlantic University was also busy preparing its plan for its regular-season football games at FAU Stadium, the venue where the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl has been played since its inaugural year in 2014. FAU senior associate athletic director Mary Giardina was meeting regularly with the campuses’ Environmental Health and Safety group to establish guidelines by which fans could gather for a football game with a level of confidence that measure were in place to protect their health and safety. What emerged as the season progressed are the protocols that will be in place for Tuesday’s bowl game – enhanced venue cleaning, stadium capacity limited to 6,000 fans (20 percent of total capacity), socially distanced ticketing, requirements that masks be worn by all attendees, scaling back or eliminating areas that encouraged large gatherings such as the second-level deck and third-level club, and signage at concessions areas reminding of social distancing.
The Walt Disney Company, which includes ESPN as one of its divisions which in turn owns the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl, was also hard at work developing its own measures. These mandated access tiering in order to protect the safety of the two participating teams who each traveled from outside of the immediate area to play in the game. This will be most evident by the strict access to the entire playing field, including sidelines, in order to cut down on the near contacts between the team and its traveling party and others.
“The guidelines that came from Disney’s safety team meshed well with the plans that FAU had developed and we had the advantage of hearing best practices from other events through the sports commission’s meetings,” said Mosley. “As we brought all of these together it became something in which we feel very confident of a healthy and safe environment.”
A consequence of the pandemic protocols is the reduction in available tickets and that’s been made more so by the two teams playing in this year’s game.
“Both of these teams have large and very engaged fan bases,” said Mosley. “They’ve sold every ticket we’ve been able to provide them and they’ve asked for more. We’ve also had a huge amount of interest locally and have tried to satisfy every request but I know we’ve come up short. There’s just not enough available seats for everyone who wants to attend this game.”
The 2020 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl will feature UCF vs. BYU on Tuesday, December 22. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN. It will also be carried on ESPN Radio and locally on ESPN 106.3.
About the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl
The RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl debuted in 2014 and has been well received in the community through its first six years. It has twice held the distinction of matching up two conference champions – Marshall University vs. Northern Illinois University (2014), and UAB vs. Northern Illinois (2018). In all, six conference champions and another three conference division champions have played in the game. Among the bowl’s alumni who have moved on to the NFL are current Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (FAU, 2017) and Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott (Memphis, 2016).
For more information about the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl visit RoofClaimBocaRatonBowl.com.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes four early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite office in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conference, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
Bowl Media Contact: Taylor Drake, RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl at 615-474-4024 or [email protected]
ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or [email protected]; @ItsAnnaNegron
Bowl Media Contact: Bonnie S. Kaye, Kaye Communications at 561-756-3099 or [email protected]