BBM: This year vs. last


Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. (12) dives for a loose ball during the University of Kentucky vs. Auburn men’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 82-80. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Trinity Bratchett

As basketball season quickly approaches, so does the highly anticipated Big Blue Madness. Though the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, there are plenty of differences between last year’s and this year’s event.

In 2020, fans were not permitted to attend Big Blue Madness due to the pandemic. Instead, the event was only featured on the SEC Network.  

This year, Big Blue Madness will be held in-person in front of 20,000-plus Wildcat fans. The campout was canceled for the second year in a row, however. Tickets were available exclusively online for health and safety reasons, and they sold out in less than an hour.  

Regardless of vaccination status, masks are required to be worn by guests, staff and vendors. Rupp Arena will also be operating at full capacity — unlike last year’s home games, which were held at 15 percent capacity.  

As Big Blue Madness approaches, here are some of the event’s festivities over the past seven years:

In 2014, 2015 and 2017, special appearances were made by rapper and self-proclaimed “Kentucky Dad,” Drake.  

In 2016, Big Blue Madness put a spin on the WWE as players and coaches utilized a jumbotron and ramp. The Wildcats were introduced by Michael Buffer, a ring announcer for professional wrestling and boxing matches. 

In 2019, coach John Calipari delivered a touching speech on his first decade of coaching at Kentucky, as well as what was in store for the future.  

Like always, Big Blue Madness will be a preview of the men and women’s Kentucky basketball teams, but there may be some special surprises along the way. 

The event will take place on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Rupp Arena and will be televised on SEC Network.