Fayette County

Duke, UNC hometowns beat Lexington as best places for college basketball fans

Kentucky fans turned out Jan. 7 to watch the Wildcats play Arkansas at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky fans turned out Jan. 7 to watch the Wildcats play Arkansas at Rupp Arena.

Commence the disbelief. A new study hits many University of Kentucky fans where they live with rivals they sort of despise.

Duke’s Durham, N.C., and University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill beat Lexington as best cities for college basketball fans in a study by WalletHub, the personal finance website that has received significant attention for its analysis, studies and rankings on anything that could affect consumers or economies small and large.

Chapel Hill and Durham outranked Lexington when they were separated among large, midsize and small cities and when all cities were lumped together.

Durham was tops among midsize cities, Chapel Hill was tops among small cities. Lexington was third among large cities. Add all the cities together and Lexington was eighth, Chapel Hill was first and Durham was third.

Furthermore, Los Angeles, home to UCLA, ranked higher than Lexington in the large-city category, as did Philly, where last year’s NCAA Tournament champion, Villanova, plays in a suburb. Philadelphia also is the home to the Division I teams University of Pennsylvania, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s.

How did North Carolina outscore Lexington?

WalletHub compared 291 U.S. cities with Division I teams by crunching data that included the number of wins (divided by total games played in the past three seasons), number of regular-season championship wins, overall championship wins, minimum season ticket prices and basketball stadium capacity. The data was from the U.S. Census Bureau, teams’ marketing reports, team websites and ESPN.

It seems Lexington took hits for highest minimum season ticket prices. Louisville also got dinged for that. Other cities got higher marks for most engaged fans, a metric that WalletHub determined by the number of Twitter followers and the number of Facebook likes per capita.