LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Season ticket holders in the upper level for men’s basketball games at Rupp Arena will get a choice where to relocate next season.
The addition of all blue chair back seats in the upper level has provided fans who have season tickets seven different pricing levels to choose from, depending on seating preference. The seat selection process will depend on a variety of factors including K Fund point rankings (through Feb. 1) and loyalty points based on longevity of a season-ticket holder.
“We have enough inventory that everybody will be able to get a seat, through the seat selection process,” Kentucky Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy said.
The renovations to add chair back seats will begin in June and expected to be completed in mid-October, ahead of Big Blue Madness. It will also reduce seating capacity at Rupp Arena from 23,500 to 20,500.
Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said the main goal has been to accommodate season-ticket holders in the upper level.
"Meeting our top priority at the outset of this renovation, we will maintain seating to accommodate all of our existing season ticket holders next season," he said. "Additionally, we took this opportunity to complete a comprehensive review of our season ticket inventory and pricing to make sure we are creating options that meet the needs of our fans. We are excited to see those fans, the best in America, cheering on their Wildcats again next season in Rupp."
The majority of seats in the upper level will not require a K fund donation in addition to the cost of the season ticket. Bleachers in sideline sections 228-234 and 211-217 will be replaced with chair back seats that will include cup holders attached to the back of the seats, with the exception of front row chair backs and those will be located on the arm rests.
The ticket prices will range from $1,150 to $1,400 and the first nine rows of sections 213-214, 231-232, 212, 215, 230 and 233 will require a K Fund donation. Prices for tickets in sections 218-227, 235-236, 242-244 will range from $950-$1,050.
Pricing for all seats was based on analytical data provided through Ticketmaster to gauge the value of each section and adjust based on demand.
Student sections will remain intact in the lower arena and the upper-level student section will move to sections 238, 240 and 241.
“The upper level has totally changed because now we have more sections, different rows and lost 3,000 seats,” Peevy said. “The upper level has totally changed.”
The seating selection process will begin in May and selection guides will be available to season-ticket holders in the upper level this month. Fans wishing to remain close to friends as in the past will have an opportunity to relocate in a similar location.
The seating selection process won’t affect the lower level season ticket holders, but some prices will increase by $122 for prime seating locations, mainly near the center of the court. Some tickets behind the end lines and lower-level corner seats will see an increase of $22. K Fund donations will remain the same as last season.
Approximately 64 percent of seats located in the upper level will cost less and invoices won’t be mailed out until a later date.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.