UK Men's Basketball

Think UK basketball tickets are hard to come by? Think again.

James Collins of Erlanger held available tickets out before the St. John's at Kentucky game on High Street on Dec. 1, 2011. Tickets to UK men’s basketball games are possibly more available now than ever.
James Collins of Erlanger held available tickets out before the St. John's at Kentucky game on High Street on Dec. 1, 2011. Tickets to UK men’s basketball games are possibly more available now than ever. Staff file

If you’re one of those fans who thinks Kentucky basketball tickets in Rupp Arena are difficult to get, there’s a new reality to combat that perception.

Thursday, Kentucky announced its season ticket lottery for men’s basketball games remained open. And there are myriad options available to get you into almost every game.

UK does not maintain a season ticket wait list. Instead, a limited number of season tickets in the 200 level go on sale via a lottery every year. For years, hopefuls had to submit lottery entries each year by postcard, but that process is now online.

Guy Ramsey, UK director of strategic communications, said its not unusual for the lottery to run into early November despite UK having already played two games in the season ticket pack. The UK ticket office said the lottery extended into the beginning of the season last year.

“It’s been pretty typical,” Ramsey said of the demand. “The ticket options announced this week are part of a continuing effort across all our sports to be as flexible as we can with our inventory to accommodate as many fans as possible. Additionally, we have worked to share as much information with fans as possible because we have found that there are some misconceptions when it comes to men’s basketball ticket availability. Our season ticket lottery process has lasted from late September to early November in recent seasons, but we have not advertised it widely. This year, we have simplified the process and moved it online.”

Having the lottery open to this point in the season does not conform to some of the materials on the UKAthletics.com site. On Thursday, the online lottery application said the lottery drawings are held through the last week of October. So too, does the confirmation statement issued once a lottery submission is completed.

Ramsey said he did not believe the increase of the season ticket price by $5 per game has played into the number of tickets available. UK announced an increase in season ticket prices in July. Last season, tickets cost an average of $50 per seat, totaling $950 for upper level seats when UK played 19 home games. With 20 games in the 2017-18 season, the season ticket tally is $1,100 per upper level seat.

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View the 2017-18 UK men’s basketball schedule

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UK has already played two exhibition games that were included in the season package, meaning any new lottery winners would pay $1,040 per pack if purchased before Friday’s game (The two exhibition games already played were valued at $30 each). No timetable was given as to when the new lottery drawing will be held, but the UK ticket office said it holds drawings every few days.

Last year, there were 861 lottery entries according to the UK ticket office. This year, there have been 645. About 98 percent of season ticket holders have renewed each of the last three years, according to UK.

Another way to see a number of games for a more affordable price is the new six-game pack. UK has begun offering two six-game packs in the 200 level for a price of $325 per pack. The “Blue” package includes Troy (Nov. 20), UIC (Nov. 26), Louisville (Dec. 29), Texas A&M (Jan. 9), Mississippi State (Jan. 23) and Ole Miss (Feb. 28). The “White” package includes Fort Wayne (No.v 22), Harvard (Dec. 2), Georgia (Dec. 31), Florida (Jan. 20), Vanderbilt (Jan. 30) and Tennessee (Feb. 6).

At his press conference previewing Friday’s opening game against Utah Valley, Kentucky coach John Calipari admitted he has had to take a different approach with this UK team.

Single-game ticket prices listed on UK’s site vary depending on the marketability of the opponent. Tickets for the Louisville game begin at $122, while tickets for an opponent like Troy are listed at $32 each. Single-game tickets remain available for every game left on the schedule. The first 13 games of the season are on sale now. The remaining games will go on sale Nov. 15.

Cheaper options are available in the student E-Rupp-tion Zone for two games held over the Thanksgiving break when students are away. Those standing room tickets for the Fort Wayne (Nov. 22) and UIC (Nov. 26) games go for $10 and require fans to line up at the Rupp Arena box office two hours before tip-off.

For those looking for better seats who are willing to pay a premium, there is the after-market. For the past several seasons, UK has partnered in Ticketmaster.com’s verified after-market sales. Where once people without tickets had to find a scalper heading to the arena (which is illegal), they can now go online and pay whatever the market bears for a guaranteed authentic ticket. The most expensive “verified resale ticket” for the Louisville game on Dec. 29 was a lower-level ticket listed for $1,432 Thursday afternoon.

Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox talks about how he played in UK’s exhibition basketball games.

UK’s website also says limited numbers of single-game tickets in its K Fund level (the lower deck) are available, but you must call the K Fund at 859-257-6300 to inquire about them.

You must also inquire with the K Fund if you are looking to purchase lower-level season tickets. Like the upper-level tickets, there is no information provided as to how many of those come available each season. In addition to the ticket price, buyers must also donate to the K Fund, and the better the seat, the higher the donation required. They begin at $500 and top out at $5,000 per seat. Donations to the K Fund support the athletics program and are partially tax deductible, although the latest federal tax proposal would remove that deduction.

In conjunction with the season ticket price increase, UK also tacked on $5 per game to the student ticket price, doubling its cost. Ramsey acknowledged student attendance has been down for UK’s two exhibition games, but he said he believes it will pick up as the season moves along.

Rupp Arena’s official capacity is listed at 23,500. UK averaged 23,461 fans per game last season to lead college basketball in home attendance for the 19th time in 22 seasons.

Kentucky freshman point guard Quade Green arrived for Thursday’s interview session with some explaining to do.

UK tickets

Season ticket lottery form: Ukathletics.com/sb_output.aspx?form=13

Six-game packs: Oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/uky/EN/buy/browse

Single-game tickets: Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, or by calling the Rupp Arena box office at 859-233-3535 or in person at the Joe Craft Center ticket office.

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