April 13, 2024

Florida Blue Florida Classic Celebrates 26th Game in Orlando with Tremendous Community and Corporate Support

5 min read

Two dozen partners backing Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman Rivalry Weekend, Concluding with Game at Camping World Stadium Nov. 18

ORLANDO, Florida (Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023)  Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University are thrilled to announce a robust roster of corporate and community partners for the 2023 Florida Blue Florida Classic. Leading this impressive list are long-standing sponsor Florida Blue and new sponsor Wells Fargo, two of two dozen companies backing college football’s premier HBCU rivalry this year.

Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, continues its commitment as the Florida Classic title partner for the 13th year. They also sponsor the annual Kickoff Luncheon and the Battle of the Bands events on the Friday before the game. The revenue generated from the Florida Blue Florida Classic game and its accompanying events is invested in scholarships and other academic opportunities at both participating universities.

“We’re extremely proud to support Florida’s HBCUs and enjoy our ongoing partnership with FAMU and B-CU to help strengthen and expand student learning opportunities at both institutions,” said Tony Jenkins, Central Florida Market President for Florida Blue. “In addition to the support we provide through the annual Florida Classic game and festivities, we continue to provide post-graduate management training offerings through the expansion of our growing HBCU internship program. Florida Blue remains committed toward our continued efforts to advance educational equity, excellence and economic opportunities for these future leaders and the many communities they serve.”

Wells Fargo will join the Classic lineup as a presenting sponsor of Friday afternoon’s Florida Classic Consortium Luncheon presented by Florida Blue and Wells Fargo — one of several ancillary events backed by the organization, including a HBCU Conversation Series workshop focused on supplier diversity and small business held Wednesday.

“As long-standing supporters of HBCUs, Wells Fargo has provided more than $40 million in strategic investments for programming, scholarships and direct giving to these institutions over the last 12 years,” said Wells Fargo Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant Dewey Norwood. “We’re excited to be involved as the Official Banking Sponsor of the Florida Classic and to unveil a unique limited-edition Florida Classic HBCU Legends debit card that celebrates the longstanding tradition of this game between FAMU and B-CU.”

Established in 1978, the Classic moved to Central Florida in 1997, introducing a new model where the two universities share the entire financial windfall from the event. The Florida Classic is currently the only HBCU rivalry owned and operated by its participating teams, with corporate support of the event benefiting the universities directly.

Returning sponsors, in addition to Florida Blue, include the City of Orlando, Cricket Wireless, the Crown Royal, Downtown Development Board, the Florida Department of Health, Florida Lottery, Ford, Home Depot, Orange County Government, Pepsi, Tito’s, Tobacco Free Florida, US Army, Visit Orlando and VyStar Credit Union. Publix also returns for its second year as a Florida Classic partner and will be the presenting sponsor of Friday night’s Florida Blue Battle of the Bands presented by Publix.

“Publix values diversity and opportunity and understands the impact access to education can make on students’ lives,” said Publix media relations manager Hannah Herring. “We are proud to return as a sponsor of the Florida Classic and continue our support of Florida’s HBCUs.”

Additional new sponsors supporting the Florida Blue Florida Classic alongside Wells Fargo include Disney on the Yard, AT&T, GSK, Health Matters Now, NASCAR and Rubenstein Law.

Disney on the Yard, which has a longstanding tradition of supporting HBCU education and advancement, will serve as the halftime sponsor for this year’s game. Two of the world’s most iconic marching bands will provide the soundtrack, as Florida A&M’s Marching 100 and Bethune-Cookman’s Marching Wildcats highlight the Disney on the Yard Halftime Show at the 2023 Florida Blue Florida Classic.

“Disney on the Yard fosters a thriving community for HBCU alumni at The Walt Disney Company, offering valuable opportunities like internships, mentorships, and career growth through partnerships with HBCUs nationwide,” said Kristi Breen and Avis Lewis, Executive Champions of Disney On The Yard.

Florida Citrus Sports, an Orlando-based not-for-profit organization known for organizing sports and entertainment events like the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, Pop-Tarts Bowl and Florida Cup, supports the Florida Classic Consortium in managing corporate partnerships for the Florida Classic.

In addition to gameday, the 2023 Florida Blue Florida Classic weekend will also feature various events, including a Night of Distinction welcome reception presented by Vystar Credit Union the evening of Nov. 16, the Florida Classic Consortium Kickoff Luncheon presented by Florida Blue and Wells Fargo (Nov. 17, noon) and the popular Florida Blue Battle of the Bands presented by Publix at Amway Center (Nov. 17, 7 p.m.), which features 12 of the country’s top high school bands, plus extended performances the FAMU “Marching 100” and B-CU “Marching Wildcats.”

On the field, this year’s Florida Classic marks the 77th overall meeting between the schools. Florida A&M won last year’s game 41-20, the Rattlers’ second straight win in the series. Florida A&M leads the all-time series 51–24–1; since the Florida Classic made Orlando its permanent home, Bethune-Cookman holds a 13-12 advantage over the Rattlers.

An Orlando fixture, the Florida Blue Florida Classic drives nearly 60,000 spectators to Camping World Stadium each fall, with an estimated economic impact of $30 million annually. Nearly 1.5 million fans have attended the Classic since the game settled in Central Florida in 1997; the event also holds the Camping World Stadium football attendance record (73,358), set in 2003.

For more information, visit FloridaClassic.org.

A Florida Blue Florida Classic Media Kit with current game and event logos is available on the FCS Media FTP, which can be accessed by clicking here.

About Florida Citrus Sports
Florida Citrus Sports is a not-for-profit event management organization dedicated to positively impacting the Orlando region while enhancing the quality of life in Central Florida through world-class events, including the Vrbo Citrus Bowl, the Cheez-It Bowl, the Florida Blue Florida Classic, the Florida Cup and the Camping World Kickoff. For more information, visit FloridaCitrusSports.com.

About Florida Blue
Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve 27 million people in 35 states. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Wendy Roundtree, Jarel Communications | 407-412-8390 | wendy@jarelcommunications.com
Sam Gardner, Florida Citrus Sports | 407-423-2476 ext. 117 | sgardner@fcsports.com

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