Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky men’s basketball attendance off to a slow start

Fans in the eRUPPtion Zone wore jockey goggles given out by Keeneland in the first before the LSU at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, on March 5, 2016. Attendance for the first two games of 2017-18 has been down.
Fans in the eRUPPtion Zone wore jockey goggles given out by Keeneland in the first before the LSU at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, on March 5, 2016. Attendance for the first two games of 2017-18 has been down. Lexington Herald-Leader

As I mentioned in my three takeaways from Kentucky’s 73-69 win over Vermont on Sunday, UK students have not shown up for the first two home games for the men’s basketball team.

I went back and compared attendance figures, and the announced attendance of 19,807 for Friday night’s opener in Rupp Arena was the smallest home crowd for a Kentucky men’s basketball game in Rupp in nearly 10 years. The previous low was 19,184 for Kentucky vs. Florida International on Dec. 31, 2007.

There’s a reason for the comparatively smallish crowd that New Year’s Eve in 2007, however. On that same day, the UK football team was beating Florida State 35-28 in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.

The crowd for Sunday’s game in Rupp was announced at 20,174. That’s just the eighth crowd of under 21,000 since the 2007-08 season.

UK raised the price of student tickets from $5 to $10 this year. As Jared Peck reported last week, tickets are available to UK basketball games.

The chart below contains a list of Rupp Arena home games since the 2007-08 season that have drawn less than 21,000.

Rupp Arena crowds of less than 21,000 for UK basketball

Since 2007-08 season.

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Dec

Att

Nov. 6, 2007

Central Arkansas

67

40

W

20,335

Nov. 7, 2007

Gardner-Webb

68

84

L

19,845

Nov. 27, 2007

Stony Brook

62

52

W

19,269

Dec. 31, 2007

Florida International

92

49

W

19,184

Nov. 24, 2008

Longwood

91

57

W

20,105

Nov. 19, 2013

Texas-Arlington

105

76

W

20,305

Nov. 10, 2017

Utah Valley

73

63

W

19,807

Nov. 12, 2017

Vermont

73

69

W

20,174

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