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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 Kentuckysportsradio.com 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
 
Comments

Since: Jan 28, 2011
Posted on: January 28, 2011 8:14 am
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Renovations of any EXISTING ARENA will NOT BE ACCEPTABLE to the UK Athletics Administration.  PERIOD.  If the city does not get behind a new downtown arena, then UK will begin to move toward building a BRAND NEW on-campus arena that will suit its needs.  Which means the city WILL get behind a new arena.  Why?  UK basketball is 45% of Lexington Civic Center's total yearly attendance.  LCC and the downtown businesses can't afford to see that leave.



Since: Jan 28, 2011
Posted on: January 28, 2011 8:06 am
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

We need a new arena because of the revenue that would be generated.  70-80 suites at $250k a pop PLUS year donations.  EVERYONE would be required to repurchase season tickets, meaning they'd be required (many for the first time) to pay the initial K-fund donation that is now required for season tickets.  UK would get a better lease agreement for concessions and other things then they currently have.
The CITY needs a new arena because it will bring more and better events to downtown.
There is a great deal wrong with Rupp.  People that don't see that are stuck in 1985 just like Rupp Arena.



Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2011 7:33 am
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

I'm curious - when did we start letting UL dictate to us what we should do?  If we want/need a new arena we should want/need it on the merits of it, not to keep up with those clowns.  Furthermore, why do we need a new arena?  Duke has done pretty well playing in a place that is about 1/4 the size of Rupp, Kansas has done pretty well in a place that is smaller than Rupp, Michigan State has done pretty well in a place that is smaller, and on and on.  The only reason that anyone seems to give for a new areana is the need for luxury boxes.  Yes, that's just what Rupp needs, more seating for the wealthy who show up late, leave early, and yell at people to set down.  There is nothing wrong with Rupp that having Enes Kanter on the floor wouldn't cure.



Since: Dec 28, 2010
Posted on: January 28, 2011 7:15 am
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Any news on Patterson and Lucas?



Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 2:30 am
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

First, the Mayor never mentioned the Yum Center or Louisville.  Second, Lee Todd is leaving and Mitch has no clue, he will probably be gone shortly once he does not have Todd to cover for him.  While Rupp has no suites, it is still a pretty good basketball facility and Lexington is never going to have two 20,000+ arenas in a town of 250,000.  Better get behind a plan to renovate Rupp as that is the only option that is going to fly.
You're right. Lee Todd is leaving. July 1st. And Mitch will probably be gone in six months or less....As far as basketball facilities "IF" there was a new arena constructed downtown then Rupp would be converted in a smaller venue for other events seating approximately ten to eleven thousand. At least that was the original plan being discussed a few months ago. But your numbers are off as far as population since Lexington itself according to the US census in 2009 had a population of 296,000 and the metropolian area has a population of 470,000.

As far as renovating Rupp Arena AGAIN that to me would be stupid. First it would cost nearly as much money to renovate Rupp as it would to simply build a new one. Even to update the roof so that it would support new state of the art scoreboards would be in the tens of millions since there was in fact a study conducted on this very matter a few years ago as I recall.

Other issues and concerns is for luxury box seating. To do this would eliminate eight to ten thousand seats in Rupp. So who gives up their season tickets? And who wants to tell them they have too? Not only that but eliminating seating to add luxury boxes doesn't make sense.

travis34 suggested a 30,000 seat monstrosity on campus and I like the idea of it but once you add luxury boxes to any arena you get into sight line problems for the folks in upper levels and they're stuck watching the game from a TV screen especially when you get over the 18 to 19,000 mark. So I'm not sure that can/could even be done. And you'll never get a wrap around student section(as much as I'd like to see that happen) in a brand new state of the art arena since they'd need to sell those tickets for premium prices.

And after the IMG plan fell through the UKAA adminstration approached the Kentucky legislature but in todays economy they were pretty much given the cold shoulder so that left them back to square one which was discussing a new arena with the city and the mayor prior to bringing IMG and private financing into the equation. Fact of the matter is there have been those that have wanted a new arena dating back to when Pitino was still coaching at Kentucky sixteen years ago but the city drug their heels on the subject.

While I'm sure most Kentucky fans would love to see their favorite team in a brand new NBA type arena thats state of the art and shines like a new penny I just don't see it happening for the moment. Since it would be in the range of a 240 million dollar venture.

Personally though in the meantime I'd like for Kentucky to absolve themselves of this contract with the city which expires in 2017. They have Memorial Coliseum and for all intents and purposes is more historical in nature with the University of Kentucky than Rupp Arena. With upgrades in seating as well as knocking out a wall or two seating could be pushed to something close to even Rupp Arena capacity. They could then have their wrap around student section as well since it's UK's and it's bought and paid for.

Hell they could raise the roof and add their luxury seating or even dig down ten feet and have the dugout luxury boxes Calipari mentioned. Plus all the money would go to the University instead of the city having their hands in it.




Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 12:50 am
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Per the next to last sentence in the enclosed article, how DIFFICULT is it to use the word ITS properly in a sentence??? it's shows OWNERSHIP and is TOTALLY incorrect

GO BIG BLUE!!!
Sorry, I don't ever do this about grammar, but if you are going to call a guy out, at least be correct.  He did use "it's" incorrectly, but it does NOT show ownership.  It is one of the few exceptions to the apostrophe 's' rule.  "It's" is strictly a contraction of it is or it has.



Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

I am completly in favor of building a new arena, though we desperatly need to work on Commonwealth Stadium.  The only reason this is even an issue is because Kentucky is second to none in college basketball, except for the arena.  Now, Rupp was rated as the third loudest arena in a Penn State study for ESPN magazine, the Karen Sypher's Aborted Kid Memorial Arena wasn't even listed in the top 10. 

My opinion is to build a 30,000 seat monstrosity somewhere near Commonwealth Stadium.  Add luxury boxes for the blue hairs, and a wrap-around student section that could fit up to about 10,000 standing.  Do everything possible to make the arena as loud as possible.  One of the reasons Allen Fieldhouse finished first in the Penn State study was the fact that it has ZERO padded seats.  Sound waves get trapped in the padding of padded seats.  So, similar to Rupp, have a bleacher style upper deck, with padded seats in the lower arena except for the student section.

Random note-the Yum! Center will NEVER host the high school Sweet 16 tournament.



Since: Jan 27, 2011
Posted on: January 27, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

First, the Mayor never mentioned the Yum Center or Louisville.  Second, Lee Todd is leaving and Mitch has no clue, he will probably be gone shortly once he does not have Todd to cover for him.  While Rupp has no suites, it is still a pretty good basketball facility and Lexington is never going to have two 20,000+ arenas in a town of 250,000.  Better get behind a plan to renovate Rupp as that is the only option that is going to fly.



Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: January 27, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

First things first...Horse hockey! I call B.S....Rupp Arena was opened in 1976 for those that didn't know. So yeah it needs updating or replaced. Personally I'd rather see something built on campus and cut those crooks out of the equation that runs Rupp. But that's just me. It would also help with parking.

The University of Kentucky would be better off money wise to build something on campus even it was smaller in capacity and pocket all the revenue generated from ticket sales and concessions rather than to keep supporting the city of Lexington. Then they could truly call it a homecourt as well as practice on it whenever they like instead of having to get "permission" from a committee to use their court. But I'm sure that was an empty threat. Simply because of the amount of money it would require to build a new arena.

Bottom line the city doesn't want to be out the amount of money it would take to build a new arena, so they throw a B.S. idea out there to slow the process with empty discussions about renovation that would defeat the any and all purposes as well as throwing good money after bad....but they sure stand there with their hand out like they have since '76 when Kentucky took the floor.




Since: Sep 27, 2007
Posted on: January 27, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Lexington abuzz about the future of Rupp Arena

Per the next to last sentence in the enclosed article, how DIFFICULT is it to use the word ITS properly in a sentence??? it's shows OWNERSHIP and is TOTALLY incorrect

GO BIG BLUE!!!



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