Kentucky introduces new football ticket packages in hopes of boosting sales

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJuly 20, 2012 


The Wildcat mascot goes crowd surfing during the celebration of the win against Tennessee. Kentucky hosted Tennessee Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 at Commonwealth Stadium, in Lexington. Photo by Jonathan Palmer


  • UK football ticket deals

    Mini-packs are available at or by calling 1-800-926-2287. Also, UK is offering a free Olympic Sports Pass if a football mini-pack is purchased by Aug. 10.

    four-game packs

    For $150, a savings of $24 over single-game prices, fans can choose:

    • Any two of the Southeastern Conference games (South Carolina on Sept. 29, Mississippi State on Oct. 6, Georgia on Oct. 20 and Vanderbilt on Nov. 3)

    • Any two of the non-conference games (Kent State on Sept. 8, Western Kentucky on Sept. 15 and Samford on Nov. 17).

    three-game packs

    For $115, a savings of $18 over single-game prices, fans can choose one game from each of these ticket levels:

    • Blue Level — South Carolina or Georgia

    • White Level — Mississippi State or Vanderbilt

    • Wildcat Level — Kent State, Western Kentucky or Samford

Kentucky unveiled new football season ticket mini-packages late Friday afternoon on its Web site.

The three- and four-game packages can be purchased in lieu of a full season ticket.

"We've seen a lot of other schools doing similar things and we wanted to offer something new to our fans," UK spokesman Tony Neely said.

The ticket packages can be a more economical option for fans who perhaps can't afford full season tickets, Neely said, or for fans who live out of town and can't make it in for every home game.

The four-game packages include two Southeastern Conference games and two of the three non-conference home games.

The three-game packages include either the South Carolina or Georgia game coupled with either the Mississippi State or Vanderbilt games and then one of the non-conference contests.

Through an open-records request in May, the Herald-Leader attempted to get season ticket renewal figures for this season compared to previous seasons.

UK denied the request saying the numbers weren't finalized yet.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald-Leader last month, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart acknowledged that season ticket sales for football were down, but he didn't have a figure available yet.

Kentucky is coming off a 5-7 season and missed out on going to a bowl game for the first time in five seasons last year.

"I'm not saying we're in horrible shape; we're in OK shape," Barnhart said when asked about renewal figures. "We're steadily selling."

The new ticket packages could be a way to make sure fans are in the Commonwealth Stadium stands, starting with UK's home opener versus Kent State on Sept. 8.

"We're down a little bit, but not horrible," Barnhart continued. "I always want to look at it at the end. We're pretty steady during the summer and the numbers are just about where they were last year in terms of steady in the summer."

Since 2003, the height of season ticket renewals was in 2009 when UK reported 56,440. Last season's 48,405 was the fewest renewals in that time frame.

Barnhart cautioned against worrying too much about fluctuations.

"We've seen it go both ways," he said. "There are years where we've had really good fan bases and we messed it up (with early losses). One year we had a really good season ticket renewal and we lost early. And although the tickets were sold, people were frustrated and didn't come. It can flip the other way, too. ... You'll win some and then all the sudden it rolls the other way."

The athletics director said he believes UK will get behind its football team.

"Our Kentucky fans have always been great," he said. "Come time when we kick it off they're always out there and strong, and I don't have any reason to believe they won't be out there and supportive again."

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog:

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