By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky is unbeaten, has a win finally over Florida and will be hosting unbeaten and 14th-ranked Mississippi State Saturday night.
So why do about 10,000 tickets apparently remain unsold for Saturday night’s game?
That set off quite a discussion on my Twitter timeline Monday.
“Shouldn’t be hard to sell 60k seats for a top 15 team at home. Ticket prices are no higher than anywhere else,” posted @TheRealJP2323.
True about ticket prices. Not true about not being hard any more to sell tickets.
“It’s nuts how much a trip to a game costs now. I hope the luxury boxes are paying out well,” Evan Orwell posted. “I checked tickets and decided I can eat better and get a better view on an awesome TV at home without all the game day hassle. If @UKFootball wants a full stadium they should stop pricing out the fans.”
“Our family of six was planning to go to game this Saturday night. Just no way that we are paying $85 a ticket. It’s much better to lower the ticket prices and sell out the stadium,” Donnie McFarland tweeted.
“Tickets are just too high. Going myself, but after fees, $170 for two very average seats. Just too much money. Otherwise I’d also go to the South Carolina game,” @WildcatRecruits said.
“They are too high. And they (UK athletics) would rather have empty seats than lower prices for a sellout,” Frank Janky posted.
“Stop jacking up the ticket prices …. I am simply not dropping $200+ for this game,” @UKcats75 posted
“Nosebleeds are $48 and most lowers are near 100 each after fees. I’m a season ticker holder, but the average fan will not pay those prices. Embarrassing by UK,” Eric Dixon wrote on Twitter.
“Just doesn’t make sense. Seems 10-15 bucks a ticket you make more than the seat just being empty.. You would assume that cheap ticket will buy an overpriced burger or drink,” Justin Whitmer posted.
Apparently Kentucky was kind of listening to fans. First, teachers can buy tickets for $26 for Saturday night’s game by contacting UK. Second, thanks to Keeneland, 200-level sideline tickets went on sale for $42 late Monday.
“Cut the price in half and sell the place out. Instead they’ll double the price and eat 5000+ tickets. One way you build a program, the other way you make it tough to win in your home stadium, thus making it harder to succeed. Both ways you make the same amount of money,” Guy on the Corner (@GOTCTickets) posted before Keeneland’s offer helped lower some ticket prices.
“People are not going to fill the stadium with prices as so high, not when you can watch on HDTV. Why charge $48 and up per seat when you can charge a bit less and have a better atmosphere to impress recruits?” @kyfan210 said.
One season ticket holder was glad to see UK lower some ticket prices.
“I’m a season tix holder and nothing wrong with lowering these tickets down to 15 bucks to let the average fan take their family. The stubbornness is not working. Stands will stay empty until change,” J.K. Coleman posted on Twitter.
Times are just changing. Season ticket holders and those who attend UK games are terrific fans willing to spend their money to be in the stadium to back the Cats. But there are fans just as passionate and just as loyal who may now prefer just to stay home, watch on the big screen TV, not spend money for tickets, parking and concessions, and still cheer for the Cats.
This isn’t just a Kentucky problem. It’s a college and pro sports problem that I think will only get worse. Many fans have to watch how they spend their dollars. I get that.
I know athletics departments need money to do all the things to sustain programs and attract recruits. I get that.
But I think empty seats — even at football games like UK-Mississippi State or basketball games even in Rupp Arena — are going to be the norm going forward.