Kentucky Still Missing Sellouts Despite Downsizing Rupp Arena
The Univ. of Kentucky removing 3,000 seats from Rupp Arena "has not led to a return of the golden days" when the school's men's basketball team "played in front of precious few empty seats," according to Mark Story of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. The announced attendance for Monday's game against Utah Valley was 18,859 at Rupp, which now carries a capacity of 20,545. However, UK only announced "tickets distributed," and one of the prevailing themes from the game "involved people tweeting images of fairly vast expanses of empty seats." UK has "yet to sell out a regular-season home game" for any of their three games so far in Lexington. Plenty of attention is given to the "quality of opponent -- or lack thereof -- on UK's non-league home schedule," though attendance figures from the past three seasons suggest "other factors are major reasons why Rupp is no longer always full." That includes the schedule starting "way before it 'feels like basketball season'" and the "lack of Saturday home games in November suppresses attendance." Part of what has "seemed disorienting" at November home games in the last three seasons is that "what your eyes see doesn't always conform with the official crowd sizes." UK's announced average attendance for the first three games at Rupp last season was 19,680, though the "turnstile attendance for those same three games was 13,107" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 11/22).