Blog Entry

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Posted on: January 27, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 1:53 pm
Posted by MATT JONES

When you pride yourself in caring about college basketball more than any program in America and then your biggest rival opens what may be the nicest college basketball facility in the country, you take notice. That is what is happening in Lexington, Kentucky this week as the University of Kentucky and new mayor of Lexington go back and forth over plans as to how best upgrade the basketball facilities for its historical basketball program.

In his initial "State of the City" speech this week, Lexington mayor Jim Gray announced that he would put together a task force to study whether Rupp Arena could be renovated in such a manner as to add luxury suites and allow the city to compete against the Yum! Center in Louisville, not only for basketball, but other concert events as well. The talk was of renovation to the current arena in Lexington and the assumption seemed to be more of fixing what currently exists, rather than a new arena being built.

Today a source told that the new mayor's plan is counter to what the University of Kentucky, specifically President Lee Todd and Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, would support. According to the source, the plans advocated by the mayor would require a drop in available seating, loss of revenue and still have the effect of keeping the city of Lexington behind Louisville in terms of arena attractiveness to outside events. The source suggested that from the University's perspective, the better alternative would be either an entirely new arena in downtown, or an arena in and around the University campus.

With the mayor and the University seemingly not on the same page, the debate will rage in the Big Blue Nation as to what plan will best lead to the creation of a new arena. With public bonding unlikely and private funding lacking, it isn't clear how either plan can be paid for and executed. Meanwhile, the University of Kentucky fans are left with a 1970s mediocre arena, leaving revenue streams on the table and playing second fiddle to it's hated rival's immaculate facility. The latter point especially is unacceptable to the Kentucky fans and will lead to an interesting few months of closed-door squabbling in the city of Lexington.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kentucky

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2011 9:55 am

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

The problems are too numerous to consider upgrading Rupp Arena.  Less seating, is unacceptable, when, on game day, people stand outside trying to get a ticket.  The upgrade would take months.  You might be able to play an exhibition game at Memorial Coliseum, but an entire season is out of the question.  The university has tried to be a good neighbor with the Metro Govt, but if the university has to go a new arena alone, then there is little doubt that it will be on campus.  Then UK will get the revenue from parking, concessions, and no rental.  Plus, the added benefits would be concert revenue, that now goes to Lexington, and the basketball team can practice much more on the floor that they actually play on.  Lexington either needs to get onboard, or when UK is forced to build on campus, due to the lack of cooperation by Metro Govt, then it will be too late to undo their mistake.

Since: Jul 23, 2009
Posted on: January 28, 2011 8:07 pm

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Rupp Arena is the Mecca of college basketball.  It is the beacon, the standard bearer, the citadel upon which the level is set and others strive to achieve its legend.  To renovate it would make a lot more sense in todays economic climate.  But, that being said does not always make the best case in the crazy world of UK basketball.  I would hate to see Lexington build a new RA just to keep up with the Jones (Louisville's new Chicken Bucket Arena). But, build a new RA because it is the right thing to do.....and is it?  RA can seat over 23k and prooves it game in and game out by consistently selling out every game and setting attendance records in doing so.  The new arena will have to have luxury boxes for all of the high falootins that want to watch a game but, not mingle with the common folk.  So, will that take away from the over-all capacity?  We have to build an arena that will seat at least 25k.  Then there is the student body who really does not have that much of a voice in RA like they do down at DUKE (PUKE).  You've got to deal with those Cam-moron Crazies alright.  The new RA will need a large contigency of students surrounding the entire court.  That is the way it should be after all, it is their school.  I say just renovate the old RA which is a legendary site of college basketball.  Plenty of schools use their old coliseums for decades.  While RA is pushing 40 years, it would be less of a financial burden for the tax payers of Lexington and the state of Kentucky to give RA a really good facelift and not build an over expensive new RA.  We do not need to go into debt for a new Rupp Arena.

Since: Sep 22, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 6:56 pm

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena


Since: Feb 26, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 3:53 pm

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Well, Barthart is spending a shitload of money on commonwealth stadium. UK oughta just say heck with commonwealth stadium. Just strike a deal with HKS to build a 70,000-80,000 seat multipurpose arena like lucas oil or cowboys. One building for all UK sports. Kentucky is losing a crapload of money to the city of lexingon. With its own arena, all concessions, ticket sales, all of it goes to UK. Football almost always sells out, and no telling how many of those seats would sell for basketball. HKS does a heck of a job. I have seen lucas oil and their is hardly a bad seat there. Take the money from commonwealth stadiums rennovations and use it for the new all purpose sadium. UK could give out bonds for construction, as they would make the money back easily soon as it was opened. Soon as it was all paid off, all of that money for the University for scholarships and in general. Seems to be the best and only option imo.

Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: January 28, 2011 3:11 pm

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

once again OCD rears it's ugly head.

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 1:53 pm

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

When did UKAA approach the state to ask for bonding? 

Prior to IMG being consulted and asked to draw up plans for a new arena.  

How do you know what was said?  

Well aside from the fact that they contacted IMG to draft plans I read that information in the Lexington Herald some time back.

How do you know they'll say the same thing now?

I don't. And I never said they would say the same thing again. Who knows what they'll say or do. Neither do you.   

God, you people are stupid as all freaking hell.

Nice. This was a conversation not designed for personal attacks. Is it that hard to be nice? And in case you've ever wondered it's people like yourself that gives the rest of us as Kentucky fans the bad name.

Since: Jan 28, 2011
Posted on: January 28, 2011 11:42 am

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

When did UKAA approach the state to ask for bonding?  How do you know what was said?  How do you know they'll say the same thing now?  God, you people are stupid as all freaking hell.

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 11:22 am

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Redoing Memorial Coliseum would cost more than re-doing Rupp, and where in the hell would anybody park at Memorial Coliseum.  I could walk, but that wouldn't help many people.
Why do you think this? Or do you have any numbers to support what you're saying or a link to a study that proves you are correct. And for what it's worth I wasn't implying that they more or less tear Memorial Coliseum down and start over. They could easily knock the end walls out and add seats. As well as dig down and add the dug out luxury boxes that Calipari spoke of without breaking the bank or at least in my opinion even coming close to the amount it would require to renovate Rupp arena to modern standards. As far as parking there is always a solution to every problem.

In these economic times? This isn't 2008. The economy is rebounding slowly but it is an improvement from 2008. As far as building downtown I don't see that happening with the city since they don't want the burden associated with the costs.

Building an arena on campus next to Commonwealth Stadium would be ideal. But that would require a great deal of money from private funding as well as the state getting involved and as I've already pointed out previously the State legislature turned a cold shoulder and a deaf ear when approached by the UKAA with the idea of the State getting involved.

But there seems to be a big push for a new arena from those that have the clout to force the issue. Personally I think basketball should be basketball. I'm not interested in UL or their Yum center....socializing, drinking, and/or watching a game on a big screen tv....Hell I can do that at the house....What's the point of going to a live event if you're going to sit behind a wall of glass and watch it on a tv anyway?

Do I think Kentucky needs and deserves a new arena? Yes I do. But not to keep up or be like UL. And since this is all about the money I don't see why UK couldn't make a few minor renovations to Memorial through private funding and donations and let the city do as it wishes with Rupp Arena. Then the Lexington Co-op can schedule all those concerts they've apparently missed out on and a truck show or two, maybe they can rent it to UL once a year like Freedom Hall and paint it red for all I care.

At least in Memorial Coliseum Kentucky get's all the proceeds from their games without the city pocketing ticket sales and concessions and since they own it they can practice on their homecourt and damn time they like instead of having to schedule a practice just to get kids wearing a Kentucky uniform in the place.

Since: Jan 28, 2011
Posted on: January 28, 2011 9:43 am

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Actually, it will be #2.  I'd like to see citations for the information you're throwing out because quite frankly I don't believe you.  The city will build a new arena.  Book it.
And the economy isn't that bad.  Building a new arena would do exactly what the economy needs right now - create jobs.  Capital expenditure is fact-proven to aid in economic recovery.  
UK will be playing in a new arena BEFORE the lease on Rupp expires in 2018.

Since: Jan 27, 2011
Posted on: January 28, 2011 9:27 am

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

First thing in regards to supporting the City of Lexington - that is a total falsehood.  The city has lost money on Lexington Center and makes NOTHING on it.  The amount of debt the city incurred to build the Center, which includes the mall area and the convention area, has been re-financed but never been paid down.  In other words, the city owes the same amount it borrowed in 1975 to build the place.

Redoing Memorial Coliseum would cost more than re-doing Rupp, and where in the hell would anybody park at Memorial Coliseum.  I could walk, but that wouldn't help many people.

There are four choices:
1.  Redo Rupp
2.  Build a new arena on the parking lot across High Street from Rupp
3.  Build a new arena on campus, probably near the football stadium
4.  Do nothing.

And the winner is (in these economic times) #4.

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