Kentucky Sports

The Kentucky student ticket lottery is dead. What is replacing it?

The amount of student seating in the lower level of Rupp Arena will not change, but seating could be reduced for students in the upper level because of planned renovations.
The amount of student seating in the lower level of Rupp Arena will not change, but seating could be reduced for students in the upper level because of planned renovations. Herald-Leader

The student ticket lottery is dead, and its replacement might be found in your pocket.

Kentucky announced Wednesday that it is doing away with the long-standing — literally — tradition of students waiting for tickets to games and replacing it with a new mobile ticketing system for both men’s basketball and football.

The goal is to “modernize our student ticketing process and use technology to make it as easy as possible for our students to purchase tickets and attend games,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release explaining the new process.

Regular feedback from students, data from the Southeastern Conference fan experience surveys as well as meetings with UK student government and the office of the dean of students among others helped the department move to the new strategy.

Students gathered in Memorial Coliseum for a student lottery for NCAA basketball tournament tickets in 2012. UK is adopting a new system of distributing tickets to students. Matt Goins

The new mobile ticketing system means students no longer will be required to enter Kroger Field and Rupp Arena using paper tickets, instead claiming mobile tickets to each home game during a designated window through the UK Athletics app.

With the new way of getting tickets also come new ticket options, which include an annual student football pass for $35 that guarantees admission to all UK home games (students have to remember to claim tickets during specified windows). It’s a savings of about $35 if the tickets were purchased separately.

Another option called the BBN Student Pass for $175 guarantees admission to all home football and men’s basketball games next season and includes a Team Wildcat membership, which offers a T-shirt and other benefits.

Students can spend an extra $25 using the BBN Student Pass Plus ($200), which includes tickets to all home games, but also includes a donation to the K-Fund.

“The thinking there is it just gives students an early chance to invest in the K-Fund,” said Guy Ramsey, UK’s director of strategic communication, “since a lot of them will be trying to pursue that in the future.”

The plus option also gets students in the Team Wildcat organization and includes a tumbler, exclusive facility tours and priority access to postseason football and men’s basketball tickets.

There’s a payment plan available as well, allowing students to pay in two installments. Buying single-game tickets for all of those games, would cost about $270 without the pass.

There are still single-game ticket options available for students who don’t want to go with a plan. All single-game football and men’s basketball tickets will be $10 apiece (a $5 increase in student tickets for football games). Guest tickets still will be an option based on availability.

“Any unclaimed season passes will go into the single-game inventory,” Ramsey explained.

Students can still attend other home games for other sports on campus using their student ID at the gate.

The student ticket allotment for men’s basketball could be adjusted due to Rupp Arena renovations, Ramsey said.

“We don’t have numbers yet because we’re still working through it, but we’re considering both past student demand as well as the construction impacts as we renovate the upper level,” Ramsey said.

Photos of the Big Blue Nation cheering on the Wildcats throughout the 2017-2018 Kentucky basketball season.

Lower-level seating will remain the same for students, but it’s unclear how much of a decrease in available tickets students will have in the upper portion of Rupp.

Starting this upcoming season, students now will be assigned where they sit in Rupp Arena based on when they arrive, similar to how it’s done at Kroger Field.

On game days, students will be given a wristband or seat location when they arrive at the game.

This will allow students that claim the same areas and enter the venue together to sit together, the release explained. Tickets may be electronically transferred to other UK students through the UK Athletics app to allow greater flexibility.

Students can download BBN Rewards, the official student rewards app of UK Athletics. Students can earn rewards by checking into events, accumulating points and redeeming points for prizes.

A BBN Rewards leader board also will be used to establish en’s basketball ticket claim priority, the release said.

The student athletics fee has been removed as part of UK’s newly released budget, which means UK Athletics isn’t getting any money from student fees. But because of that change, student ticket eligibility now will be determined solely on full-time status. Only full-time Kentucky students — and BCTC students living in UK campus housing — will be eligible for tickets.