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Lexington Mayor Jim Gray on a New Rupp Arena

Last week we heard a lot about the differences of opinion between UK and the city on the potential new Rupp Arena. On Saturday I spoke with the new mayor about Rupp and its future and here is what he had to say…

Oh yeah, and notice that my advocating for a fan on the board to study the future of Rupp was met with…well, mixed results:

Article written by Matt Jones

50 responses to “Lexington Mayor Jim Gray on a New Rupp Arena”

  1. Onions McOnion

    Matt your shirts selves are really long or your coat is short not sure.

  2. Blake


  3. My sister's watch

    Matt, my sister called and she wants her watch back!

  4. dave

    Matt- My sister called, she wants her watch back.

  5. dave


  6. hersheyisabear

    6-8 months?? I do believe Lexington owns the wildcats. lol

  7. That One Guy

    We get it Jim…ur in the construction business

  8. UK_Fan!

    Great last question, but I don’t think he gives a crap.

  9. Roach K

    If it is possible to somehow renovate without losing any seating capacity, then I would be OK with it. That’s the most important thing. A renovated Rupp has to hold at least as many seats as it does today. If that can’t be done, we have to build a new Rupp Arena next door.

  10. Jonah Hex

    That isnt a watch yahoos.

  11. BigBlueBrock

    All this “taskforce” and “evaluation” and “think about renovating Rupp” is a smoke screen, IMHO. Everyone involved (Mayor Gray, Lexington Civic Center, UK) knows what needs to be done and what will be done. But Gray can’t appear to be all about spending $200 million less than a month into his term as mayor.

    Mark my words: A new arena will happen, and we’ll be playing in it by the time the lease is up on Rupp Arena (2016). Maybe even before then.

  12. BigBlueBrock

    9 – It will not be possible to renovate Rupp without losing a few thousand seats. And you won’t be able to add as many suites as UK would like to.

  13. stratblend

    I’ve never seen a man so excited to be 25 mil in the hole.

  14. Dirty Cheese

    A shame we couldn’t have found a mayor with experience in the construction business.

  15. old-school

    What’s wrong with Rupp?
    Sure – maybe a new sound system and other modest renovations – but’s what’s wrong with the building as is?

    Is Kentucky having a hard time filling up the seats for home games? No.
    Do networks not like coming to Lex. for nationally-televised games? No.
    Are there structural or safety concerns present we’re not aware of? No.
    Can I get my next sentence to be as evenly spaced as the previous ones? No.

    Seriously – there’s nothing wrong with Rupp other than some “keep up with the Jones’ attitude about Little Brothers’ new arena in Louisville.

    Who cares. We still seat 24,000 plus in a very nice arena.

    It’s not worth putting the city/state in further debt. UK’s home is GREAT.

    Leave it alone!!!!

  16. Unemployed and Hungry

    Sorry but I think this money should be spent trying to create LONG TERM employment and training the hungry, unemployed single mothers and homeless than trying to keep up with Louisville. IT’S A BASKETBALL GYM FOLKS!!! GET OVER TRYING TO ONE-UP LOUISVILLE!! DON’T SPEND THIS UNNECESSARY EXPENSE! WE ARE TAXPAYERS TOO!!!!!

  17. SeoulCat

    Look at all the fat ass people in the background…jeeeesus.
    D-I-E-T, Diet! Diet! Diet! Whooooooaaaa, D-I-E-T, Diet! Diet! Diet! Whoooooaa….

  18. P.L. Wallingford, III

    16.Unemployed and Hungry Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:02 pm
    Sorry but I think this money should be spent trying to create LONG TERM employment and training the hungry, unemployed single mothers and homeless than trying to keep up with Louisville. IT’S A BASKETBALL GYM FOLKS!!! GET OVER TRYING TO ONE-UP LOUISVILLE!! DON’T SPEND THIS UNNECESSARY EXPENSE! WE ARE TAXPAYERS TOO!!!!!
    Hey, Unemployed & Hungry…..give up your internet access & computer & you might not be as hungry. Also, take a bus to Louisville & tell them to tear down their new arena & just use the old…after all,it was good enough as it was. You might also be able to get a job tearing down the Yum Center & then you won’t be unemployed…at least for awhile.

  19. Al's IndiCats

    Did the mayor call Matt, Rob at the begining?

  20. Roach K

    The argument could be made that all UK’s sellouts prove Rupp is way too small. They could sell thousands more tickets if they only had the seats.

  21. old-school

    20. It’s not too small – it just can’t hold all the fans.
    That’s a good problem to have.

    Sure in a perfect world we’ll one day have something that may seat even more – but in this economy there are simply other priorities abvoe a new basketball arena.

  22. BigBlueBrock

    15 – Rupp sucks. Sorry you’re not bright enough to realize that. Its dark, its ugly and it doesn’t make enough money for UK. There is A LOT wrong with Rupp. Things that can only be fixed by building a new arena.

  23. BigBlueBrock

    “In this economy” – Stop living in the past. Economy is recovering and growing, has been since the middle of 2009. How long until you half-wits stop using that as an excuse to halt progress? And by the time an arena even breaks ground (at least 18 months from now), the economy will be in even better shape. Get over it.

  24. Johnny Utah

    I know there’s that whole freedom of speech thing, but come on man!! 15 is killing me, and from the sound of it, lots of others who frequent this site. Your sh1t’s getting old, man.

  25. GMo

    I like how Matt asks questions and he gives bull crap answers. good for matt for staying up his butt

  26. Cal's Pal

    Is it just me or did he sweat more and more as the interview went on?

  27. Coach Cal Can't Coach

    16 – Stop playing on the computer and go contribute to society. I would like to actually see my tax dollars spent on something that benefits me! Call me selfish, but all these entitlements are getting a little old.

  28. DoubleDynasty2011

    Boys (and girls)… This going to get ugly… And get ugly quick

  29. BigBlueBrock

    28 – Explain.

  30. DoubleDynasty2011

    Bottom line… Uk is getting a New arena.. Period.. We can sit and talk about what we want money spent on.. Blah blah blah… Until you become powerful enough in business to do more than type it on a message board it’s doing nothing… The high donors at UK want an arena… THEY WILL GET A NEW ARENA and it WILL BE better than the YUM center… Period

  31. Rickey Martin

    We need a dome that’s for basketball and football. I like the idea of the moveable endzone. 45,000 for basketball and 70,000 for football. This needs to be on campus.

    We also need a fan on the board

  32. Jason

    I love the dad and his son who are DETERMINED to be in the background of the camera at all times. Especially how the son (in the white shirt) looks exactly like TheDrewFranklin.

  33. Jason

    lmao, and where TF did that random old dude come from who is suddenly out of nowhere standing inches behind matt? Just standing there with his best poker face observing.

  34. John McClane

    If they let a fan on the committee? Kige.

  35. GoCats32

    15, it’s not a keep up with the Jones’ attitude and wanting what L’ville has. We are the Jones’, it’s just time to get some new stuff. Rupp is old, it’s time to get a new one.

  36. John Elway

    Hey what business did he say he was in again? haha. I do think it needs to stay downtown though. Too many jobs and businesses rely on game day to NOT have it downtown.

  37. Paducah fan

    They’ll renovate it, lose some cheap seats and more than make up the loss by selling suites. Maybe a few less spectators (which may hurt only as to national ranking on the number of fans who purchase/attend) but increased revenue, and as Stone Cold says, “that’s the bottom line” (both figuratively speaking and in reality).They could move an entire season or more to Freedom Hall and lose no revenue, just major inconvenience to the Lex fans.

  38. BigBlueBrock

    37 – No.

  39. AppyCat

    To turn Rupp into the visitors worst nightmare, when blue hairs die make the season tickets put into the student allotment. I figure in a few years the entire lower arena will be a student section.

  40. WoogedyBoogie

    Let me explain further what Jim is saying: Before you solve any problem or pursue any design options, ESPECIALLY on this magnitude, you must survey what you have FIRST. It’s called due diligence. It’s also called being responsible. These are elected officials, licensed engineers and architects, master planners, and space planning professionals. Their entire careers are based on making the appropriate decisions in regards to infrastructure, cost analysis, feasibility of construction, and pleasing all of the players along the way (players = taxpayers, UK, the fans, city gov’t., state gov’t., etc.). 6-8 months when the state (and possible federal, once different funding options are explored) government is involved is being VERY CONSERVATIVE. Jim is just politickin’, but in reality, this could very well go til the beginning of next season, or even next year.

    Patience, people. (and yes, next guy that comments, I too am in the industry.)

  41. The Fan

    They will build one downtown, Rupp is just to old to put money into. Kentucky basketball brings in the cash.

  42. BigBlueBrock

    I agree with 40. Mayor Gray can’t be all gung-ho behind spending $200 million 30 days into his term. He is doing what is POLITICALLY correct (appearing to favor a CHEAPER option), despite likely knowing that a new arena WILL be built.

  43. Stickman

    Unemployed and Hungry Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:02 pm
    “Sorry but I think this money should be spent trying to create LONG TERM employment and training the hungry, unemployed single mothers and homeless than trying to keep up with Louisville. IT’S A BASKETBALL GYM FOLKS!!! GET OVER TRYING TO ONE-UP LOUISVILLE!! DON’T SPEND THIS UNNECESSARY EXPENSE! WE ARE TAXPAYERS TOO!!!!!”

    I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that. Just what we need, more government handouts to chicks who can’t keep their legs together and bums that will drink Listerine just to get a buzz.

  44. WildRockett6

    There’s a a company in Lex called “Big Ass Fans” i recommend them as a sponsor. “Big Ass Blue Fans Arena”. For those who doubt…

  45. Pitino's Pant Leg

    It had been nearly six days since I’d last heard someone say Coach Cal “gets it.” Glad Mayor Gray reaffirmed it.

  46. bigbluefan

    39 wow that would be an empty lower level. when you going to realize the student sections suck. to be as big of a basketball school as we are we have the worst student sections. i say move the students to upper level and bring the uppers down they cheer more than any student

  47. Straight Up

    I just love watching 2 grown, gay men talk and giggle to each other!

  48. Stickman

    I never see Jim GrAY’s wife/girlfriend….

  49. ukball

    If you think about it, now is the time to get bids on a new arena. With the economy bad, co’s are looking for work. You can get a better price. If you wait till the economy is better, it could cost twice the price. Go for it now.

  50. dave

    If Jim Gray’s renovation idea for Rupp Arena significantly reduces seating capacity this project is DOA. Go thru the motions but at the end of the day let’s build a new arena downtown and get on with it. Jim Gray can be a part of the new arena or not but it will be built…and it will be the best !