Kentucky fans will pay 13 percent to 21 percent more for men's basketball season tickets in Rupp Arena next season, while some single-game tickets jump $16.
The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved a ticket-price increase Friday. The prices of season tickets and some single-game tickets were increased for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
Season-ticket prices for each lower-level seat in Rupp Arena next season increases from $945 to $1,140. Each upper-level seat increases from $840 to $950.. Even with price increases, season tickets are cheaper than those at peer programs, including Duke, Kansas and UCLA, UK officials said.
"We don't want to be first in ticket prices," said DeWayne Peevy, UK's deputy athletic director. "That's definitely not our goal."
The price of single-game tickets increases by as much as $16 each, but the prices of some single-game tickets weren't raised.
In the 2014-15 season, UK charged five prices, from $25 to $95, for single-game tickets, depending on the perceived quality of an opponent. Pre-season exhibition games were the least expensive, and the price of those tickets will not increase. Single-game tickets to midweek non-conference games also weren't increased.
The "five-tier" pricing system is intended to encourage more fans to attend games against less-compelling opponents. It's also seen as a way for fans on tight budgets to attend some games.
UK President Eli Capilouto said that the school and men's basketball program are mindful that increased prices might prevent some fans from affording tickets.
"I think the athletic department has been judicious in not increasing ticket prices in three years," he said. "I think they've stayed within the market, and I think the way they've tiered tickets, it's done in a way to make more seats available at what, in reality, is market prices."
No changes were made to student ticket prices. UK expects to play 19 home games next season.
UK will not ask fans to make larger contributions to the K Fund in order to qualify to buy designated season tickets. K Fund donations range from roughly $450 to $5,000 a seat, depending on seat locations. UK also didn't increase the cost of football tickets.
UK expects to reap $2.5 million from the latest basketball ticket price increases. The increases are part of a record $124 million athletics budget approved for the 2015-16 school year.
The athletics budget is $15 million more than the $109 million 2014-15 budget. Besides the additional $2.5 million from the basketball ticket price increase, UK expects payouts from its media rights deal and the Southeastern Conference to increase by $11.6 million.
UK officials also expect athletics expenditures to increase by about $15 million in the 2015-16 school year. Added costs include the first $3.7 million payment on debt service to finance a new Academic Science building scheduled to open in 2016. There also will be the first annual debt service payment of $2.1 million for the renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.