Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We can't profit if it's free

This past weekend, the University of Central Florida unveiled it's new stadium and unfortunately, a rather interesting plan has been uncovered as well. Over sixty fans suffered the consequences of their oversight, eighteen of which were taken to the hospital.

The new on-campus stadium was designed to hold 45,000 fans for a game and according to UCF spokesman, when it was designed, it was built to all applicable codes. The $55 million, 43,323 seat stadium was put on a fast track to be built after coach George O'Leary was hired in 2004. It's 2001 design met the plumbing codes then that did not require any water fountains to be installed. The 2004 codes though, require one fountain per 1,000 people, less if bottled water is available, something that would have been noticed I believe, if someone looked for it.

"For regular residents who live here, it is important that you keep taking fluids in," stated Orange County fire official Anthony Williams.

The problem arose when the venders ran out of bottled water, which evidently had been the planned method of keeping fans in a hot stadium in a hot southern state, hydrated. The university states that their vendor had brought an inadequate amount of water - 28,000 bottles and had sold all of them out.

As a result of this lack of water, 60 people were treated for heat related issues and 18 had to be treated with more than free water from emergency crews, they were taken to the hospital. The university as promised that there would be four times that much water for the next game and it suddenly has decided to install water fountains, ten of which they promise will be there by the next weekends game.

"I think it's downright cruel to lure people into a stadium for a sporting event and then make them pay for water," stated student Nathaniel Dorn.

That is correct, fans were not allowed to bring food or drink in from outside the stadium and without any water fountains with free water available....... they were faced with spending $3 a bottle for water. Not only do I find that idea crazy, $3 for water but by doing some simple math...... they had over 43,000 people in the stadium and had 28,000 bottles of water available. That leaves a good number of people without water or stuck sharing a bottle with someone.

The university may have been entirely correct in their designs for the stadium on paper but it seems to me that they were either incredibly dumb or entirely driven by the profits that can be made selling water....... something we used to just drink for free from the tap. It would almost seem that the university felt that a few dozen fountains would have taken a large chunk of their profits away and the only reason they have abruptly changed their tune comes from a huge public outrage.

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