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Volume 26 No. 227
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UK Basketball's Scanned Attendance Lacking Despite Great Ticket Sales

UK tries to create an engaging atmosphere for fans at Rupp Arena to compete with television
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
UK tries to create an engaging atmosphere for fans at Rupp Arena to compete with television
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
UK tries to create an engaging atmosphere for fans at Rupp Arena to compete with television
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The announced attendance for Univ. of Kentucky men's basketball games at Rupp Arena averaged 19,821 going into Saturday's game, but over the same six-game period, the "scanned count of people with tickets, media credentials and other passes that have a bar code averaged 14,161," according to Jerry Tipton of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. This translates to about 28% of ticket holders "not coming to games." UK Deputy AD DeWayne Peevy said that ticket prices are "not a significant factor," as the school has sold almost all of its season tickets for the '19-20 season. UK Dir of Strategic Communications Guy Ramsey said, "The issue in terms of attendance is not people buying the seats. It's people actually buying the seats and not attending the game." More than once, UK coach John Calipari has "appealed to fans to attend games in order to encourage his latest freshman-dependent team." Ramsey said that in order to "compete with television, UK seeks to create 'the most engaging atmosphere that we can.'" Tipton notes efforts include "music, videos, replays, T-shirts fired into the stands, on-court hosts, ... indoor fireworks, a fan shooting a half-court shot and 'Wizard of Oz' plumes of gas shot into the air." According to NCAA records, average attendance at D-I men's basketball games has "declined in each of the last 12 seasons," and the average attendance for the '19 NCAA Tournament was the "lowest for that event" since '01 (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 12/10).