Less than two months before the start of the season, Kentucky’s football ticket sales are slumping.
Around 28,800 season tickets have been sold for the 2018 season at Kroger Field, down from about 32,000 at this time a year ago, a UK spokesman confirmed to the Herald-Leader.
That’s a 10 percent drop from a year ago for a team that returns 17 starters and advanced to two straight bowl games.
There were about 2,000 season tickets purchased between this time last year and the start of the season when UK sold a total of 34,060 in 2017.
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Based on past sales, Kentucky expects to sell about 5,000 tickets to students when those packages are available later this month.
There were about 40,515 general season tickets “out” last season, said Guy Ramsey, UK’s director for strategic communication. Of those, 4,961 tickets went to students and 1,494 were distributed as comp tickets.
The Cats, who finished third in the Southeastern Conference East Division and are coming off two straight 7-6 seasons under Coach Mark Stoops, have home games in 2018 against Central Michigan, Murray State, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Middle Tennessee.
Kentucky’s seven home games brought in an average of 56,468 fans in 2017, according to reporting by the school. That number was up 2,825 from the previous season. And the increase made UK No. 16 nationally in attendance increases.
Per NCAA stats, 11 Southeastern Conference teams were among the top 30 in average home attendance last season, including Alabama (101,722), Texas A&M (98,802), LSU (98,506), Tennessee (96,779), Georgia (92,746), Florida (86,715), Auburn (86,446), South Carolina (78,586), Arkansas (63,224), Ole Miss (58,631) and Mississippi State (58,100).
The NCAA also reported that home attendance for Division I FBS programs averaged 42,108. After a brief uptick in attendance numbers in 2013 when Division I programs averaged 45,192 fans per home game, there has been a slow decline each year since.