Gator football fans may not need another way to prove their passion, but a Florida tourism marketing corporation is hoping fans will take another opportunity to flaunt their orange-and-blue blood anyway.
Visit Florida will host its first Florida Fan Game on Friday. The competition will run until Dec. 5, and it will encourage Florida college football enthusiasts to support their teams and boost state tourism. The Florida Fan Games will be a part of the corporation's Share a Little Sunshine program.
In addition to UF, Florida State University, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Miami and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University will participate.
Fans can go to the Share a Little Sunshine Facebook page and send Florida travel invitations. A different customized invitation is available for each school. Invitations include coupons and links to restaurant, hotel and attraction deals.
Each time a fan sends an invitation to a Facebook friend, his or her chosen school earns a point in the competition. At the end of the competition, the school with the most points can officially say it has "Florida's No. 1 Fans."
Visit Florida Chief Marketing Officer Will Seccombe said partnering with Florida college football teams was an obvious move.
"Florida is the No. 1 travel destination in the world, and, arguably, college football is one of the No. 1 passions in the state of Florida," he said.
Seccombe said fans of all schools should support the state economy. UF football Coach Will Muschamp will appear in TV spots and videos starting Friday.
UF tourism expert Stephen Holland said encouraging Floridians to invite people to the Sunshine State might be a good strategy.
"It could be effective, because roughly one-third of the visitors in the state come to visit friends and relatives," he said.
Holland said improving tourism could go a long way in bettering the state's economy.
For more information, see the Share a Little Sunshine Facebook page, or go to www.visitflorida.com.