By LARRY VAUGHT
Even before Kentucky announced its non-conference basketball schedule for next season I had several friends who had decided not to renew their season tickets at Rupp Arena.
Now Pete Kendrick of Danville has told me about giving up his family’s tickets.
“Dad had UK tickets since Rupp Arena opened. Still have them but I guess we are giving them up this year,” Kendrick said. “Can’t even sell them for cost if nobody can make it (to the game).
“Just like (Kyle) Macy said, the only good preseason games are neutral court. Hate to give them up after almost 45 years but significant price increase each year for the last seven or eight years and these schedules means nobody cares about games at Rupp anymore.”
Next I heard from another UK fan — who did not want to be identified because she has season football tickets — who almost bought season tickets for Rupp Arena this year before deciding the overall financial commitment was way too high. Not only did getting season tickets require a donation to the Blue-White Fund along with the price of the tickets, but it required a $100,000 commitment to UK over the next 10 years. She said her family will spend money to attend the SEC Tournament or other away games.
“We had checked on maybe getting season tickets after purchasing SEC Tournament tickets. My husband sent an email to UK asking about season tickets the next morning someone called him and said we were eligible for season tickets (the couple has eight football season tickets, attends all home games and go to one away game each year),” she said.
That’s when her husband was told about the $100,000 commitment — which I know another friend who did go ahead and opt in for better seat locations and made the pledge. Just to make sure her husband had the info right, she called the next day and was told that was right and if they wanted sideline seats at Rupp Arena the commitment would be even more for the two tickets they wanted.
“We weren’t going to do that. It’s easier to have a watch party with more enthusiastic fans than when we do go to Rupp Arena. That’s one reason road games are more fun because the fans are excited,” she said.
She was already upset after being displaced from her parking spot at Kroger Field for a second time. She understood the need to move when the new baseball stadium was built but not this time.
“We got a notice back in February that the part of the Green Lot where we park is now a special lot and our $300 parking pass was going to $2,800 for the same spot,” she said. “So UK already was not on my good side. That doesn’t change me being a fan. Our football tickets are our vacation. That’s what we like to do. We do it for our vacation. I just bought five more tickets for the Florida game. There probably are some people who can afford the $100,000 commitment for basketball or $2,800 for a football parking pass. But not us and I am guessing there are a lot more fans like us than ones who can afford that much money.”