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Here’s a unique idea to help fill empty seats at Rupp Arena with Big Blue fans

Contributor Richard Cheeks would like to see UK give fans a last-minute chance to buy lowered priced tickets to help avoid empty seats at Rupp Arena. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

Vaught’s note: 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.


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  1. When I purchase tickets, those seats are mine to do with as I please. If such a system were put in to place, I would never purchase another ticket, just based on the principle of this idea.
    If I have something going on and can’t make it until later, that is my business and i should not have to ask Daddy UK if I have his permission.
    If this were put in to place and I wanted to attend a game, I would just wait until game time to purchase. That would be much cheaper.

  2. Not to great of an idea! Let’s see you piss off season ticket holders, many of which are paying 10,000.00 per year extra just to have those tickets, just to possibly sell a few standby tickets. Times have changed and people will no longer do what you did to see a game. Most games are on TV and this generation does not value the experience of being at the game. To draw in the younger crowd, you need to link the experience to the internet and get everyone involved. This is impossible without proper WiFi to make the experience exciting. They also need to lower the concession pricing to draw larger crowds. For years the demand has been very high and they could get away with high prices and lousy food. Times are changing and everyone needs to change too! This is why they have eliminated seats in Rupp.

    1. With you on the WiFi and concession prices. Keep saying Wifi will get better but has not happened yet

  3. I’m not sure I would go along with this, but if there were a kiosk that could be used electronically and I knew at the last minute I couldn’t go, I would gladly “give” my ticket to the first one in line.

    1. You are a good person Sarah

  4. actually, tickets are not property, but revocable licenses.

  5. Here is an idea, just lower ticket prices and concession prices, but I want hold my breath. Ben27 is right, times have changed. Prices for tickets eliminated me a long time ago. You can see more on TV anyway, and be a whole lot more comfortable. It is really kind sad to see all those empty seats though. The Professor could be on to something.

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