Chair-back seats, club areas: UK Athletics announces changes coming to Rupp Arena


A sold out Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena on Friday, October 13th, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Kernel Sports Staff

New changes are coming to Rupp Arena, announced UK Athletics on Friday.

Recently, Rupp got a new center-hung scoreboard, ribbon boards, a new sound system and better lighting. These upcoming renovations add to those changes, which “have created a more dynamic game experience at Rupp,” according to the press release

Beginning in the 2019-2020 season, Rupp Arena will have upper-level chair-back seating and new club areas. The renovations will decrease Rupp Arena’s capacity to 20,500. 

“Rupp Arena has long been hallowed ground, home to the greatest tradition in college basketball and the best fans in the world,” said Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart in the press release. “We are in the midst of an effort to make one of the most special venues in all of sports even better…” 

Chair-back seating will be installed in sections 211-217 and 228-234, in response to feedback from fans who asked for more comfortable seating, the press release said. 

For the first time, Rupp Arena will have club areas that allow fans to enjoy “first-class amenities before, during and after games.” These clubs will provide the necessary funding for the new lease agreement, which was announced in December 2016 and finalized earlier this year, and for future renovations. 

Two clubs will open for the 2019-2020 season, with another opening the following season. Membership to the clubs will be offered to certain season ticket holders. More details are still being finalized.

Construction will not begin until after the upcoming basketball season, so season ticket locations will not be affected for the 2018-2019 season. Beginning with the 2019-2020 season, there will be a new selection process for upper-level season ticket holders. UK Athletics said its priority is to ensure that all current season ticket holders maintain seats in the renovated Rupp Arena. 

Barnhart said he and his staff are “excited” to share preliminary details and will have more information moving forward.