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Argos & Wahoos Team Up For Football

Dave Dunwoody

 With about three months to go before their first official game, the UWF Argos football team has a new member: the Blue Wahoos. September 10th is circled on a lot of calendars in Northwest Florida. That’s the date of the first home game for the University of West Florida football program. The Argos, of course, will be playing their home games at Blue Wahoos Stadium in downtown Pensacola. And now the Wahoos’ organization has agreed to partner with the university. Dave Scott, the UWF Athletic Director says the agreement is to sell corporate and commercial sponsorships. "There's opportunities to sell on field signage, There's opportunities for corperate boxes and suites, there's opportunities for sponsoring half time, sponsoring breaks (in the action). (The Blue Wahoos) do a tremendous job looking for opportunities within the game to help people promote their business, at the same time it helps us with providing a great experience for the fans. A lot of major colleges and universities work with companies like IMG or Learfield and do the same thing on a corporate level. We're just doing it on a local level with a local organization." 

Scott says the Blue Wahoos have spent five years building relationships with area businesses and organizations for baseball sponsorships, so the university felt there was no need to reinvent the wheel and try to put a new sales team together. "With us, it was just a matter of 'Hey, we already have a sales team together, we already have the elements together. We kinda know what we're doing!'" said Jonathon Griffith, the President of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He says the organization will be involved in more than sales. It will be involved in making the game day experience special for fans. "All of our ushers, all of our security, all of our normal people will  be involved. We also have our creative team helping out. UWF will be bringing in their own cheerleaders and things like that, but for the most part we will be (running) the full operation of UWF football this year and the upcoming years."

And the Wahoos will be offering the same food at all the concession stands as well as Chef Travis’s game day specials. Griffith also says there will be a new bar set up outside the stadium with TVs showing various games during football game days.

The person who may have the roughest job will be head grounds keeper Ray Sayre. "I think he is the most overwhelmed!" said Griffith who pointed out that the five home football games will be a lot  different than minor league baseball. "We'll have 300 pound monsters running around and jumping on the ground and sliding and diving, compared to minor league baseball players that are a little more choreographed." The portion of the baseball diamond will be covered in natural turf for football, and goal posts will have to be installed. Griffith pointed out that Sayre used to work for the University of Kentucky with their football program. "He has a pretty good pedigree with all this stuff."

What would really give the groundskeeper fits is if the baseball and football season were to intersect. The final Blue Wahoos home game is August 31st, but that would change if the team made the Southern League playoffs. Jonathon Griffith says if that happens they will have to adjust on the fly with the league.

As far as the university is concerned, Dave Scott says the first game is just over 90 days away and there is still a lot to do. "We just worked at getting play clocks up at the stadium. We're working on getting field goal posts ordered and in (and) nets to go behind them. We're ordering sod to go on the infield." Scott says they are also working on groups sales and ticketing for the games. hey recently held a seat selection event for the top 400 season ticket holders. "Seems like a lot to get done in 90 days but we're hitting it one day at a time."

The UWF Argos play their first game on the road on September 3 at Ave Maria near Naples, Florida. That first home game on September 10th is against the Missouri S and T Miners

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.