Vaught’s note: Vaughtsviews.com contributor Richard Cheeks has an interesting thought on how to help solve the problem of unsold/unused tickets at Rupp Arena. It’s a bit of an unorthodox idea but also one that is very, very interesting.
By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
In this day and age, there is no excuse for empty seats at game time. Every ticket has a bar code that is scanned as each ticket holder enters Rupp Arena. Computers know instantly which seats have been accounted for by bodies entering the arena, and which seats will not be occupied at game time.
Sell those tickets for whatever price the market can bear to maximize income for the event, but on each ticket print the following message:
“To ensure that every seat will be occupied by a Big Blue Fan, each ticket holder must enter the arena no later than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for the game. At that time, any ticket for that game will be void and STAND BY TICKETS WILL BE ISSUED TO FANS WAITING TO SEE THE CATS.”
The University can make allowances at the time of games for those ticket holders that can verify at least 15 minutes prior to tip off that they are on their way and have been delayed due to unexpected traffic or severe weather. However, if those late arriving ticket holders do NOT make it to such events after asking for a time waiver twice in a single season, that ticket holder shall lose his/her ticket priority for purchasing tickets in future seasons, NO EXCEPTIONS.
This will have several benefits. It will reinforce the importance of using one’s tickets and arriving prior to the pre-game ceremonies. It will ensure that all seats are used for each game, occupied by loyal big blue fans willing to travel to Rupp Arena for games on the chance of getting such an opportunity.
For any given game, there are several hundred unused seats in Rupp Arena, something that should not be tolerated by the powers that be.
Set the price of these STAND BY Tickets low so regular fans can afford them, and set the price just high enough to cover the University’s direct cost for administering this program, which with computers, should required minimal staffing additions at the arena. Print and sell these STAND BY Tickets from “Best” to “Worst” order, starting with lower level, and moving upward. Those tickets will be gobbled up by real fans so fast that they will see all of the game.
When I was in high school, UK sold standing room tickets to Memorial, and I took advantage of that to see Rupp’s Runts play games in 1966. My dad worked for the C&O railroad, got me passenger passes, and I rode the train from Ashland to Lexington on Saturday morning, got a ride from the train station at Rose and Vine to Rose and Euclid, and stood in line for hours to get one of those standing room tickets. I returned to Ashland on Sunday evening, staying with an Aunt and Uncle in Lexington on Saturday night.
There is no reason these STAND BY tickets cannot be done other than UK is only interested in the money they generate from the initial ticket sales, NOT IN HAVING FANS FILL THE SEATS, which is a very sad commentary.