By LARRY VAUGHT
Brooks Downing, founder/president of bd Global Sports, believes Kentucky basketball fans are going to thoroughly enjoy having a chance to go to Las Vegas in December of 2019 when the Cats play two games in T-Mobile Arena. Kentucky will play Utah Dec. 18, 2019, and three days later take on Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic.
“T-Mobile is a great, new arena. It hosts concerts, hockey. It has every bell and whistle you can imagine,” Downing said. “It’s right in the middle of the (Vegas) strip.”
Downing helps book numerous Division I college basketball games annually and has worked with John Calipari and UK assistant athletics director DeWayne Peevy, UK’s deputy director of athletics, to set up non-conference games to meet what the coach wants for his team each year.
“You are seeing the migration away from neutral site games to more destination locations where fans can have a great experience combined with a couple of premium games,” Downing said. “We believe the Las Vegas games are going to be quite an event. There is so much to do on and off the strip. Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, great weather.”
Kentucky has played exhibition games in the Bahamas and will again this August. Kentucky has also played a regular-season game in the Bahamas. However, Downing admits prices there are out of range for some fans.
“MGM alone has 11 resorts in Las Vegas. There will be multiple locations for fans to stay,” Downing said. “You can stay at an average property to the latest and fanciest property and pay more.
“You have options and that’s good because the UK fan base comes from every demographic. This creates a trip that can meet budgets for families and we hope this start something new every other year that fans will really like.”