LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kentucky isn’t leaving Rupp Arena anytime soon.
The University of Kentucky and the Lexington Center Cooperation executed a “right of use agreement” that will keep the Wildcats at Rupp Arena through the 2033 season.
The current lease expires at the end of the 2018 season, but the new deal means Kentucky will use Rupp Arena for men’s basketball and select events for the next 15 years. The school also will control multi-media rights and the sale of souvenirs and receive revenue from the creation of four clubs and club spaces that will be constructed within the arena. In return, LCC will receive a yearly payment from UK athletics in the form of $1.9 million for 28 events.
“We are excited that Rupp Arena will be the home of the Wildcats for another 15 years. It already has been the home of so much history and shared pride for our University and our community,” said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. “We are gratified by the commitment the Lexington Center has made to continue to improve the fan experience through upgrades to technology and other amenities. With this agreement signed, we look forward to taking the next proud step in a long tradition of excellence that has defined our basketball program and this historic venue.”
Lexington Center chairman Craig Turner said the agreement “extends the viability of Rupp Arena and ensures its vitality for almost 60 years.”
“This commitment from UK stretches that vital contribution to the city and the state well into the future,” he said.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray lauded the agreement between the two entities.
“When UK and Lexington work together we move ahead, and today’s agreement is a big step ahead for our City,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “The Big Blue Nation will have a state-of-the-art home in a building that represents the greatest tradition in college basketball.”
Bill Owen, President and CEO of LCC said the pact is a “milestone for Lexington Center Cooperation.”
“It is a compliment to the high level of event support provided by our facilities and its entire staff for the past 42 years,” Owen said. “We are all looking forward to the next era of our partnership.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.