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Source: Calipari/Barnhart/Todd Oppose Arena Renovations


Lexington mayor Jim Gray spoke earlier this week about his desire to invest in the downtown area and create a thriving district for arts, entertainment and sports.  That statement, along with the announcement that he would put together a task force to look into the arena issue, seemed to cement the notion that the city of Lexington would prefer to renovate Rupp Arena, rather than building a new facility.  It’s an idea that the people at UK do not believe to be the best strategy going forward.

I spoke with someone with some knowledge of the situation this morning and they indicated that the powerful triumvirate of Todd, Barnhart and Calipari are opposed to the renovation of Rupp Arena and instead prefer a new facility.  They would support a new facility downtown, but would likely push for a new arena to be built on campus if the city wants to propose renovations to Rupp Arena.  They believe that there are a number of issues that come with simply making renovations, which make it not only less desirable, but also make it unfunctional on a lot of levels. 

Here are four key reasons why they will likely oppose any plans to simply renovate Rupp Arena:

1.  Renovation would reduce capacity – The understanding is that the primary renovation to Rupp Arena would be to add luxury suites, much like the ones included in the Yum! Center project.  By adding these suites, the capacity of Rupp Arena would be reduced to, at most, 18,000 people.  One issue in doing this becomes the question of who would have to give up their tickets in order to make space available for the new suites.  Breaking that news could give new meaning to “don’t shoot the messenger”.

2. Where would UK play in the meantime? - The person I spoke with also sadi the UK folks also believe that if the renovations take place, they will be forced to find a secondary destination for UK home games.  Those courts would likely be Memorial Coliseum, Freedom Hall or a venue in Cincinnati.  All of these destinations not only present a similar issue in giving up tickets, but also present various logistical issues for the team and for fans.

3. Renovation creates loss of revenue- With the apparently inevitable notion that UK would have to forfeit tickets when seating becomes less available at the new Rupp or the temporary home location, the school also faces a significant loss in revenue.  As you’re probably very aware, the state institutions are not in any position to loss that revenue and doing so would force them to make budgetary changes going forward.  To the school, that’s a major red flag for this potential project.

4. The Louisville Factor – The person I spoke with said that beyond all of the problems on paper, there still remains the issue of the Yum! Center in Louisville and the ardent belief in at UK that they should not play “second fiddle” to Louisville in facilities.  From a fan perspective, that’s probably paramount.  To the powers at UK, it’s not only what they desire, but they feel that it’s deserved.  It’s hard to argue any differently.

Gray’s task force most likely won’t return any of their findings for quite some time, but if the city proposes renovations to Rupp Arena as expected, it could be the start of a battle between Lexington and its most prominent resident.  The person I spoke with thinks that UK will push hard for a new facility.  The path of least resistance involves the city and the school joining on a new venture downtown.  But, if Jim Gray and his task force propose renovations as expected, there will likely be a battle and the school will push for a new arena on campus.  Given the host of issues that seem to come with the renovation plan and the message it sends by taking a back seat to Louisville, the stance seems to be justified.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

119 responses to “Source: Calipari/Barnhart/Todd Oppose Arena Renovations”

  1. Onions McOnion

    ONIONS!

  2. truebluefan

    The best ncaa basketball team in the country should have the nicest facilities in the country. Build a brand new one!

  3. Markedman

    If a new arena is on Campus, bet the word Coal will be on the outside.

  4. stevem

    Call the new place Cat King Coal.

  5. bung

    What do the fans want? If we played outside again what would the seating capacity be? Barnhart would build it in Kansas.

  6. PutThatOnDeAndreLiggins

    Where on campus would they put it!?

  7. FullMontyCat

    Not only do we play second fiddle to U of L on arenas, we have 4th best gym in the SEC. Sad, sad, sad, sad. 35,000 seat on-campus facility is a must. Unlike Rupp, put the blue-hairs in the luxury suites and the students near the court.

  8. bigcat76

    NO WAY!!! Renovation downtown is an awful idea, you don’t need a task force for that. Spend that task force money toward a new arena. Jim Gray is a construction man, he knows better.

  9. Tobias Funke

    I prefer Gray’s idea, but along with suites rip off that roof and somehow add 5K more seats. Go Big! Stay downtown! A brand new arena on campus will never happen.

  10. catsfan

    Just put a roof on commonwealth

  11. David

    Why not move out to Coldstream and build both a new Football and Basketball facility…finally we would have plenty of parking for Football…..

  12. ATLcat

    Let’s be honest here, will any of these three amigos even still be at UK when the decision is actually made? Todd’s gone next year, and the most Cal will stay is 10 years. Just my opinion

  13. Adolph Rollingover

    Build the Carrier Dome in the Orange Lot. Play indoors and be unique in the SEC

  14. Let's Get Serious Here, Folks.

    If a new arena is constructed, it will without a doubt be downtown. Rupp Arena is too critical to our downtown economy be taken out of that area, especially with the giant leaps forward downtown has taken in recent years. There will be multiple feasibility studies done to address the issue of a new Rupp/upgrade to current Rupp. My guess is that if UK wants a new arena, they will have to compromise for downtown. And in the end, that’s where it needs to be–the epicenter of Lexington. My personal preference for the new arena downtown would be behind the current facility, making it a perfect segway right into the Distillary District beginning on Manchester St. (which has expansive and amazing development plans of its own).

  15. Willie and Waylon

    Horrible idea to move to campus. An even worse idea is to move to Coldstream. This university cannot exist in a bubble all of its own. Despite its wishes to the contrary, it is and must remain a vital part of the city as a whole. Keep the arena downtown. Ideally, renovate Rupp Arena. If that can’t be done in a way that maintains current capacity, then build a new arena across the street from the old one in the Rupp parking lot. Buy up (or use eminent domain on) the surrounding lots if more space is needed.

  16. on the radio

    If a new arena is built, it needs to be downtown. And for those advocating for a dome, have you ever been to a game in one? There’s a reason that the are being imploded around the country. They are terrible.

  17. Jeremy

    Renovation isn’t what we all want but it’s what were going to get. Only reason why U of L could build the Yum! Center was because of their ability to bring in acts like the Eagles or Lady Gaga or giant trade shows. Lexington just can’t support something this big. To go along with your point about loss of revenue beez, we wouldn’t lose any money with renovating based on your argument of sheer attendence numbers. Louisville could fill up half the arena but as long as they have those luxury boxes paid for they will make more money than UK.

  18. jsrobi0

    The coupld build it between Commonwealth Stadium and Nicholasville Road. It is the corner of Nicholasville Rd. and Alumni Dr. Other than the senior Citizens Center there is nothing at that location but an open field used for tailgating. Building it there would allow both the basketball arena and the football stadium to utilize the same parking lots which would eliminater the need for adding parking for the new arena. That would also put be very close to the new UK Hospital which would be a huge plus for both the campus and Med Center administrations.

  19. UKAndrew

    Lexington would never agree to an on campus arena. That want it downtown. All the businesses in downtown Lex benefit greatly from having Rupp Arena there.

  20. Peyt

    I believe the mayor’s words have been twisted via all the media coverage. A lot of people forget that Rupp Arena is attached to the city’s convention center. I believe the mayor was referring to renovation of Rupp into meetings and convention spaces rather than upgrading Rupp. I think the plan all along, especially with Lexington Center, was to build a new modern arena across the street in the current parking lot between High and Maxwell streets.

  21. UKAndrew

    6. The only place there is room right now would be near Commonwealth Stadium

  22. UKAndrew

    18. The problem with that is they use the parking lots around Commonwealth Stadium for student parking during the week. Students have to move their cars the Fridays before gamedays or have them towed which is fine because a lot of them go home anyway for the weekend and the employee lots open up. Could you imagine having to move your car 2 – 3 days a week during school?

  23. ukcatsfan2

    18,000 seat arena’s are obsolete….

  24. Red Rooster

    Stoll Field

  25. scoretowin

    Since Commonwealth needs to be replaced, I think we need to build a Carrier Dome-esque building. We would have to make sure we make it very basketball friendly. But, 65-70k seating capacity in a state of the art complex for football would give us a cool sales tool for recruiting. And, being able to reasonably seat 30-40K for bball would be great.

  26. BigBlueBraxton

    If we had to play a year in Freedom Hall, wouldnt we lose money?

  27. Kentucky14

    I would love to see an arena on campus, but I work at UK and parking is already a nightmare. You can do what #18 said and do it on the Goodbarn fields. Or, if the talk of a new student center is true (by what was formerly known as the 6-pack across from Haggin) then you could kill the old student center and build one there maybe (space and parking issues?). The two worst ideas are renovating Rupp or building a dome (or turning Commonwealth into a dome). Those are just dumb ideas. The last thing we need is to reduce seating or play in a football stadium. I say you build a state of the art facility that holds around 25-30k and you have luxury boxes for the blue hairs and put the students surrounding the court. There is no reason for us not to have the nicest/most technologically advanced/most intimidating arena in the country.

  28. Penn Barts

    Clearly, build a new stadium on campus. Its the University of Kentucky wildcats. Tear down the abysmal tower dorm system – which is annually listed in the Top 100 least aesthetic structures, across the world – and put the stadium within close proximity to Commonwealth. Such breeds a unifying university campus (which is also severely fragmented and in need of redesign) and spirit.

  29. Jonathon (J-Walk) Walker

    The idea of a non downtown arena is not worth your time. Its never gonna happen. Excuse me now while I time the 3rd graders doing the “shuttle run” and then a little “flex arm hang” Oh yeah…

  30. jsrobi0

    22. Good point about students having to move cars during games. I guess they would have to designate the lot space closest to Commonwealth for student parking and keep the lot space closer to the new arena for basketball parking… basically partitioning the lot. Not saying that it isn’t without logistical problems, but it would be well worth upsetting the student parking to have a new facility that the administatration feels will bring them added revenue. Plus, I work at UK and can’t think of any other logical place to build it “on campus” that would make sense.

  31. old-school

    Keep Rupp as it is.
    Kansas plays in a glorified barn and it’s one of the greatest basketball arenas around.
    Rupp has history, tradition and remains the largest college basketball arena in the country.

    I went to a game at the YUM Center last week – and it’s really nice – but it’s distracting from the college game. All the frills and activities during breaks reminds me of a minor-league baseball game. Too many gimmicks.

    KY Fans should pride themselves on the product on the floor, not the light-show or luxury suites.

    PLus – we’re living in a time where money needs to be invested in better things.
    If Rupp was falling down I could see the point. But it’s structurally sound, is huge, has a wonderful tradition and the only thing driving this call for a new arena is the “Keep up with the Jones” mindset since YUM opened.

    Again – YUM is nice – but watch a game on television and you’ll see so many empty seats becuase the ‘fans’ are busy drinking, eating or socializing to watch the game. UK needs a building built for Basketball – and that’s what we have with RUPP

  32. Kidnut

    It needs to be a new areana nd named The Rich Brooks Tomato Gardens

  33. Mash Davis

    I would call it the Purnell’s Old Folks Arena. Everytime we make a 3,we need Al Purnell’s voice say “IT’S GOOOODDDDD!!!

  34. bung

    31) Yep….teams are scared of the name….if we do build…i like the name “CoalTobaccoWhiskey Arena” Or possible the “RuppCAl Hall”

  35. Brian

    Well stated old-school.

  36. Al's IndiCats

    I’m not familair to downtown Lexington but if they were to renovate Rupp and play at Memorial where are the students going to sit? I’m sure we don’t want 8,000 blue hairs rooting for the Cats. Hell, All you’d hear are the pace makers humming! I’d say make a Carrier type dome where you could play both sports. It’d be super cool to have 40,000 screaming, yelling fans close to the court. AND maybe get a Final Four Tournament or two.

  37. scotty

    GODS GIFT ARENA

  38. MCStayUpLate™

    Rob Bromley Court at Raycom Arena…

  39. WildcatsOne

    31. As much as you enjoy living the fantasy life of Hank Hill, the majority of Kentucky fans want a palace. The recruits want to play in a palace. The big donars want luxury suites in a palace.

    Progress is a strong force. You either move with the crowd, or you get run over.

  40. shadowboxer

    A task force? The city of Lexington does not need to waste money on some bureaucratic task force. One or two people could make the recommendation in about 3 days….tops. As it is, any task force will take a lot of time and require a lot of money. I guess some people just need a job for the sake of having a job and being part of a fancy task force.

  41. Dennis Smith

    Someone has created a strawman on some level here – obviously for the purpose of ending the debate on renovation vs a new arena before it starts. And let me say I have never heard an estimate of lost seating to be anywhere near 5,000 seats – that is another exaggeration for the same purpose. Jim Gray has requested money for a study to revel what the actual ramifications would be if renovation were attempted. Nobody knows what they might be – and for sure the author and contributors of this article are not trustworthy making guesses. A study would be money well spent. Then we can debate the issues rationally.

  42. Traveling Fan

    *****TICKETS***** I have UK tickets for the game in Gainesville, 6 of them in a row.I paid $27.50 each for them. I will sell for $20 each!!!I live in Atlanta, if interested call or text me @ 770-856-3769 or @ rowejerry@att.net.Go Big Blue!

  43. Jeff Stevens

    Regardless, you filthy CATS fans will never have anything nicer than what UofL has. Face it, y’all are deece.

  44. Calipartytime

    Build it at the proposed site for CentrePointe & rename it CentreCourt.

  45. stevem

    Assuming we build a new arena how much is it going to cost and other that a contribution from the coal industry, how would it be paid for?

  46. Justme

    “unfunctional”?

  47. DoubleZeroMostel

    I realize many on here have let it be known that if you moved the downtown arena to campus, it would kill downtown businesses. So, who’s holding all the cards here? The city of Lexington or the University? If UK wants to build a new state of the art downtown arena, the city should be down on their knees thanking the University for the opportunity. The alternative is an on-campus arena and the city of Lexington can go fly a kite with their useless renovated convention center.

  48. bluesince66

    I also work at UK and I say go with the on campus arena beside Commonwealth. Build a couple of parking structures which are badly needed anyway. How much does UK lose a game with the current arrangement at Rupp. With an on campus facility all the money goes to UK. Moving 3 miles up the road will not have that much of an impact on gameday as people would still be downtown to dine before and afterwards.
    Spoke with a friend that works for the Yum center and he said they screwed up big time in it’s set up for anything other than basketball.

  49. ThankfulCat

    Jim Gray is an idiot.

    He better listen to Coach Cal.

    He wants a new arena and not some waste of money on Rupp.

  50. ThankfulCat

    #43 I’m so glad my children won’t grow up aspiring to one day attend basketball games at the Yum Center and get to put a chicken bucket on their head.

    This is so easy, you can’t make this stuff up.

  51. beau

    43) Hmmm…. Pretty sure that whole basketball team/tradition/championships thing is greater than UL’s. Just saying.

  52. The Korean Bookie

    14 – Well said. Bottom line is that a new arena can’t be constructed without City and State help. Neither of these two will allow this to occur on campus. The two biggest non financial issues are going to be tieing new arena into the existing facilities (conv center/ lex center)and where will the cats play when the new facility is being constructed.

  53. ugk

    the pimp c dome sponsored by drake and bun b

  54. BGrassKY

    31… you are exactly right! We’re not having problems bringing in top talent (nor is KU for that matter). YUM serves the city of Louisville as well as UofL. They have different needs there and have corporate sponsors who demand the boxes. Rupp is more than sufficient.

    If they had to build one, it would be nice if they could situate it somewhere around Hagerman Court between High St. and Memorial Coliseum area.. which is very convenient to downtown and campus.

  55. Speak English, please

    43 – Since you are a Loservile fan, I knew to go to Urban Dictionary to look up ‘deece’…and it said it means cool or excellent. Thanks for calling UK cool and excellent, although your opinion doesn’t really matter here.

  56. BigBlueBrock

    If Jim Gray wishes to be re-elected, he’ll get behind a new arena ASAP. Period.

  57. MazdaCat

    What about the giant field where Centerpointe was supposed to be built?

  58. LaGrangeCat

    #13, #25, #36, you would have to do some fancy engineering on that indoor football/basketball facility because watching a basketball game in the carrier dome is horrible. It is essentially a three-sided arena with some token seats thrown in on the “fourth” side. While the carrier dome does boast a large capacity, the majority of those seats are in the “binocular” zone!

  59. itstimebuildit

    First, UK can exist totaly on its own if it wanted to, look at the other SEC schools. It amazes me that all of the blue hairs that complain about traffic after football games and college parties now say that UK is to important to Lexington to leave downtown. Get a life. Second, domes are old school. If UK were to build a combined facility for some reason a retractable roof is the way to go. If they build a basketball only facility there is no reason that you can’t fit 30,000-35000 great seats under a regular roof.

  60. itstimebuildit

    Oh yeah, some people need to get a better idea of space. Centerpointe is way to small for a new area. In addition, a newe area does not have to be built where there is open space. You can always tear some stuff down. Get creative people.

  61. Red Rooster

    NO THEY DON’T OPPOSE RENOVATIONS

  62. Mitchispaidtoomuch

    Let’s get this straight. UK does not need downtown Lexington! Downtown Lexington needs UK basketball! Anybody that thinks otherwise is wrong. CM Newton broke the good ol’ boy network for the Civic Center when he was AD and wanting some changes to the UK contract and renovations to Rupp by taking home games away from Rupp and threatening to build a new arena when Pitino was here. Those fat cats on the Civic Center board soon realized where their bread was buttered and buckled. Their is no doubt that if Pitino had stayed, KY would have had a new arena. The hockey team that was playing in Rupp had a better concessions contract than UK at the time before the renovations. Unbelievable!As far as improvements to downtown, yes there has been many, but the fact is downtown shuts down after 6:00 pm every week day and all weekend the majority of the times. When UK plays home games at Rupp, the surrounding businesses thrive for those precious hours. The fact is, Lexington should have been planning for this 10-15 years ago. Someone mentioned the concerts that Rupp has missed out on in the years past. Again, this goes back to the Civic Center management and what kind of concerts they want to allow to come here. This policy has bit them in the butt too many times. Everybody that has said that UK has to do or compromise with the city has no intellectual arguement in this case. KY holds all of the cards. They can choose to stay in Rupp as is or with some updates or build a new arena downtown or on campus. A campus location gives them parking revenue, concession revenue, etc. Meanwhile, if KY builds an on campus arena, any thought of reviving downtown Lexington is gone! The perfect place for an on campus arena is right next to Commonwealth Stadium. If UK truely wants a new arena, they will find a way to make it happen. I just hope Mitch hasn’t pissed off all the big donors!

  63. Chris

    The Mayor can say whatever he likes, and in truth, can honestly prefer renovation, BUT…there is ZERO chance that Jim Gray will let UK take basketball out of downtown. Zero, none. He will not want to be the Mayor that let that happen. Local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce will scream, as well they should. Basketball on campus wouldn’t generate nearly the payroll taxes that would be lost from what is generated currently in a highly commercial area. The campus area would see a negligible boom, while devastating the downtown economy.

    I think the Mayor’s comments reflect a starting negotiation point over just who will pay for how much of a new downtown arena, which is what everyone wants, even UK.

  64. Calipartytime

    60 All they have to do is declare eminent domain & tear down some more buildings.They could start nex week & if they do end up renovating Rupp, Lexington will just have a much larger vacant lot.

  65. rml4uk

    I was thinking the same thing as #44. Let’s face it… CentrePointe is never going to be built. Having a vacant lot that the public is not allowed to access most of the time is causing the city to lose out on so much potential money. Build the new arena on that lot, then once it is done, renovate Rupp to turn it into whatever they want. That way no home games are out of town, capacity doesn’t go down, and technically, that lot is a little closer to campus :)

  66. mudcat

    The thought of 18,000 seat arena makes me want to vomit. We need to add not subtract. Go bigger or don’t build at all…that is my initial reaction.

  67. josh

    we should be like syracuse and put a roof on commonwealth and have that place jammed pack of screaming kentucky fans

  68. TardFanLivingUnder The Bridge

    Is it just me, or does the Dum Center look like someone tipped a dumpster on it’s side.

  69. MazdaCat

    61– The parcel the Yum Center was built on seems much smaller to me than Centerpointe

  70. bung

    Ditch Mitch

  71. Willie and Waylon

    62) When is the last time you were actually IN downtown Lexington? 1985? Get a clue, pal.

  72. josh

    43… yea but we have 7 national championships and over 2000 wins

  73. Build it they will come

    I don’t know why we can’t build something comparable to Syrcuse has and do a mulit purpose facility(Dome) that can hold 100,000 plus for football and be converted to a basketball facility.

  74. ......

    who the crap cares what Lexington wants. UK is a State School and the property is OWNED by the state!!!! They ahve their OWN police force…It is it’s own city pretty much. It doesn’t need Lexington to approve ANYTHING!!!!Doz the soccer fields or arb’….Some how 75000 fans find parking for the football games but you’re telling me 23,000 couldn’t do the same thing????
    The city wants it downtown to get $$$ down there sure they want to renovate it’s CHEAPER and THEY own Rupp not the school…..UK NEEDS TO BUILD AN ON CAMPUS ARENA….Period!!!

    PEACE

  75. bung

    Mitch is Jayhawk……Rupp rules basketball….course that Sportswriter boy thinks Tenn does.

  76. OnCampus

    As long as the city is involved it will NEVER be on campus….Push for on campus Trust me the guys in frankfort will support UK….HAHA lexington government. what a joke…they tax home owners to DEATH to give free rides to people who pay ZERO taxes….they that’s fare….need a .5% sales tax and FREE-THE-HOMEOWNERS

  77. JackNicklaus

    As a Cat fan living in Louisville, the Yum center is extremely nice…top-notch in every aspect. I attended a game there on business. The lighting, sound, video screens and music during timeouts, all is very modern and current. When I attend games in Rupp, its like I am stepping back to the 1980s in all aspects. I loathe UL anything but their arena puts Rupp to shame.

  78. UK6MAN

    Why not build an arena like Lucas Oil field that can host basketball and football. That would be the best facility in the nation, for both sports.

  79. UK6MAN

    before you ask, build it right where commonwealth sits now.

  80. BigBlueBrock

    Multi-purpose facilities don’t work at the college level. Sight lines suck and the cost is too high. People need to get over that idea.

  81. ChicagoCat

    78 – That would be insanely expensive though. I believe Lucas Oil is the third most expensive stadium in the NFL behind the New Meadowlands and New Dallas stadium. And that had a prominent NFL franchise AND larger city behind it.

    I have been saying for years they should tear down the Greg Page Apartments, which I had the “pleasure” of living in as a Freshman, and put up the new arena right next to Commonwealth. That way the two can share parking and UK already owns that property so they can dictate much more than they can if leasing from the city.

  82. stevem

    Does the fact that Commonwealth is crumbling and in need of repair put a damper on any plans to build a new BB arena? Where do we find the money to do both? Maybe one solution is to build a combined facility.

  83. BigBlueBrock

    IF it gets to the point where UK is building a new on campus arena (which is highly unlikely, but for now, pretend its happening), then it will go where BCTC’s campus is currently located. BCTC is moving to Newtown Pike, so UK would have that land back and parking already exists, so its a win-win.

    BUT, that is highly unlikely to take place.

  84. BigBlueBrock

    82 – Commonwealth isn’t “crumbling.” Catch up.

  85. Big Blue 66

    If we build a new arena, please make it better than Yum, Yum is new but the design is terrible and the internal ring from the lower arena to the luxury boxes look like garage doors….nice job on the entrance, but the rest is terrbile for what they spent. And if we build a new one, which I think is a waste of money btw, bigger isnt always better, go see a game at conseco field house ( i think about 18K seats0, and tell me how much better it is built for intimacy to the game than yum. And please dont do a carrier dome or multipurpose arena for football and bball, those are always terrible.

  86. thebluevirus

    build it they will come if it held 60000 it would sell out every game wheres the argument

  87. Dennis Smith

    Nobody cares to argue with an idiot.

  88. Cousins Fake Teeth

    We dont need a renovated arena, we need a brand new state of the art arena. Renovating loses seats, and most games you cant get tickets to as it is and it will make it just harder to get. You see the type of recruits we are getting now? Add a brand new arena on top of that, and WOW, we will get even better recruits if thats even possible.

  89. Cousins Fake Teeth

    86) 60,000 will sell out every game? highly doubt that. 30,000, maybe.

  90. Bundy

    Terrible idea! We needed renovations to Rupp 10-15 years ago. It is time for a new, state-of-the-art arena now. Did they not always turn down the idea of renovating Rupp because plans for a new arena was in the works?

  91. Bundy

    I love Rupp Arena. It’s one of the greatest venues in the world to watch a Bball game. And, at one time, was way ahead of it’s time. But now, it is simple out dated.

  92. Voice of Reason

    Build a new one, end of story.

  93. Bundy

    88- A new arena probably won’t help recruiting now, with Cal here. But he won’t be here forever, and after he is gone, a new arena will be a welcomed recruiting tool. We can’t plan as if we will have Cal forever, or will be able to replace him with someone as good.

  94. I Call John Wall At Night

    An on-campus arena for UK would do wonders FOR UK! It’s not UK’s responsibility to see that the economy downtown is thriving. Not to mention that if the downtown economy is that dependent on UK then the city has bigger issues. I seriously doubt there are numbers to support that the downtown economy is dependent upon UK playing basketball there. Rupp Arena would still be there but would be freed up from the basketball months to host other things. Thus would bring in more money to downtown imo. The football stadium is on campus and i don’t hear anyone bitching about that and it brings in more money. The fact is that UK basketball needs suites in it’s arena and there’s no way that UK would allow the overall capacity to be reduced just for that. Rupp has been a serviceable arena for decades and is still one of the best places to watch basketball but there is no way UK could do what it wants to do and increase revenue by just renovating it. At some point a new arena will have to be built anyway and any complaints won’t matter. Might as well do it now and get it right. If the chicken heads can build the bucket without a championship since 86 then certainly UK can get one built now. But before we do that i think football needs to be the priority. Whether it’s upgrading CWS or building a new one. If UK doesn’t do that it’s sending a message to the rest of the country that we are ok with mediocrity and being near last place in the conference. That will never get the big dogs on campus.

  95. BigBlueBrock

    94 – Its not UK’s job to make sure downtown has good business, but it is the mayor’s. And the mayor will be educated on how important UK is to downtown and make sure a new arena happens.

    Also, basketball is and always SHOULD be the priority for UK. A new arena with 70-80 luxury suites can bring in $100mm in revenue a year. That allows you to pay for the neat things football needs.

  96. bmw1023

    We need a new arena with larger capacity, end of story. I love the idea of it being on campus as well.

  97. Viren

    A brand new arena is needed and there are several components that needs to be looked at very seriously: 1) Fat Cats who are close to court need to be sent next to the ceiling. Wildcats face tough environment everywhere they travel. It is only fair that opposing team get same treatment when they visit our arena. 2) I think student section need to be be placed closed to the court. Students are the most enthused and will cheer the entire game and Wildcats will have the best home court advantage.

  98. bmw1023

    41- It sounds like you’ve been on a meaningless “task force” before and would like nothing more than to do it again. I thought the author of this article did nothing more than report some obvious facts and he didn’t need a task force to do it.

  99. Viren

    30-40 K Max capacity would be great for the new arena.

  100. Mitchispaidtoomuch

    71- I WORK IN DOWNTOWN LEXINGTON 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS! You need to get a clue and tell me what is any different than what it has been. Name a business (besides a bar) that you just have to visit 3-4 times a week in the evening. We have a big open field because people drank from the Webb brothers favorite kool-aide, I can take you around and show you all kinds of vacant condos that have been for sale for quite awhile. If you think it is such a happening place, why don’t you let me sell you a condo in downtown Lexington?

  101. stevem

    Why don’t we get an exclusive $30 million contract with ESPN like Texas and go out and build the greatest basketball arena in the world…40,000 seats and call it “Big Blue Mecca” then sit back and bask in the glory of it all. Outside we could erect a bronze statue of a wildcat bouncing a basketball in one hand and grabbig the neck of a cardinal bird choking the life out of it with the other. The lowest 10,000 seats would be reserved exclusively to students; the rest to wealthy donors and/or fans. 500 free seats would been given away every game to folks you can’t afford tickets. There would be 70 luxury suites ringing the inner arena with corporate signs outside each like: Makers Mark; Mercedes Benz; Coca Cola; Budwiser…you get the idea. Cat heaven I say.

  102. Grand Poobah

    You start getting into +30k seating and the sight lines are horrible. I’ve been to the top of Rupp and experienced some vertigo in the process… now add in a level (or 2) of suites and make the seats chairback instead of bleacher… you’d be 2.3 miles away from the court. Today you can’t tell which player has the ball, in this bizare future state you won’t be able to tell which TEAM has the ball.

    Build the thing to ~25k… a bit bigger than Rupp. Don’t make the mistake of having the same number of bars at Yum… they are crowded and hard to walk through. Don’t make the mistake of Yum and funnel everyone out of the same side of the building. Priorities need to be:

    1) Capacity at or exceeding Rupp
    2) Raised suite / club level selling for high dollars where old folk can sit in their seats and still see the game. Hate the old people all you want, they (and corporates) pay for the program.
    3) State of the art video board and sound system
    4) Sightlines for all other seats (right balance of building up and away from the court)
    5) Secondary boards for player stats (all players, not just present 5)
    6) Digital banners for advertising / crowd engagement prompts
    7) Convenient convenience stands (lots of stands)
    8) Stair/Escalator/Elevator system for efficiently emptying the building

    Make it happen. Study UL.. we may despise them, but they’ve gotten plenty right. I think they’ve built new facilities for Bball, Football, Tennis, Baseball and others all within the last 5 years (maybe a few longer). We can’t fix the alcohol issue (HUGE loss of revenue here) due to SEC regs, but we need to creative solutions (maybe waitresses for a certain section… a la Reds’ Diamond seats).

    You CANNOT cut corners on this. Must be viable for 20-30 years minimum and have plenty of forsight. All economic indicators point to eventual inflation… construction costs are at record lows due to unemployement… invest now and inflate the fixed expense away with higher ticket prices over time.

    On tickets, eliminate the transfer option. You need to rotate the tickets out more frequently to continue collecting the $120k lower one-time donations. I’ve been thinking about buying some seasons but until they settle the plan for the new arena, what’s the point? I’m too nervous I drop a down payment and later get prioritized over new money. The upshot… WE’RE AT LEAST THINKING AND TALKING ABOUT THIS.

  103. GODSAZNO

    I think every UK fan would be happy to contribute to the kitty to get this new arena built. An engine can only be overhauled so many times. 10-15 years from now and Rupp could be a huge liability.

  104. al

    I love UK and yes we do need a new arena, Rupp is great but we need a new arena as well. But One thing that makes me mad is that everyone wants to show love to basketball, but how about love to my FOOTBALL CATS!!!!! Commonwealth Stadium needs love as well. WE open check book for one sport and not the other is not right. FOOTBALL needs its upgrades as well in stadium and other football areas. We need to open check book for both not just basketball. If we r going to compete for SEC IN FOOTBALL we need to do it for my football cats ,like pay our coaches and keep them. Cal deserves his pay and im glad he is here, but WE raise football prices and we get no love to show for it. Like all pre-game stuff is gone, and we have a banner to run thru like michigan does when they run out on to the field. bring back the helemt, fireworks on field, and better musice, and SHOW SOME LOVE TO MY FOOTBALL CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  105. Dennis Smith

    Here’s the deal. 25,000 seats – all boxes with plumbing and an exhaust fan!

  106. iWantToGrowUpAndBeTheDrewFranklin

    UK needs a new arena to out do Loserville! If Rupp is renovated it will shrink. Whatever they decide to do, I hope they make the seats bigger!

  107. josh

    paint freedom hall blue baby

  108. MtnCat

    This is an economic issue. If downtown’s survival is hanging on 15 home basketball games in the convention center the city’s focus should be on why. UK athletics needs the revenue that modern facilities provide. Cluster the athletic facilities near Commonwealth Stadium and build the revenue streams necessary for UK to compete for athletic championships. Lexington benefits regardless.

  109. russ

    I’ve got to vote to renovate Rupp. The loss of revenue won’t fly. Those private boxes are where the money is these days. Not to say 18,000 is what capacity I would like, but Rupp is an icon. I’ve not seen the layout, but losing 5000 seats sounds like a scare tactic…Madison Square Garden, anyone??

  110. brad

    does anyone know, if uk has to pay the city anything to use rupp, because its on city property? IF so then having it on campus would be cheaper, and there is lots of room around the football stadium, plus alot more parking than what they have at rupp

  111. Katbluefan

    Lexington wants it down town so that the city can suck off the profits. When Rupp was built it was one of the best, 30yrs ago. Now you can’t find a place to park down town. I agree with UK officials, build a new one and not DOWN TOWN LEXINGTON. Rupp’s Coal House would sound too bad

  112. GhostofBearBryant

    Yum center may not be financially viable with ul Mens and womens bball and what other events are held there. But it got done, knowing you always have NBA team move in the back pocket if needed. No possibility of that in Lex. Plus factor in no booze sales for uk games and it’s a slam dunk 100% fact there is no possible way a new yum-like facility gets built in Lex.

  113. HeadOfTheGame

    Not sure if it was posted already, or even a good idea. What about a new arena where the old Lexington mall is on Richmond rd. It has been I eye sore for years!

  114. BigBlueBrock

    112 – You’re right, no chance a Yum-like facility is built in Lexington. Whatever UK/Lexington does will be FAR BETTER than Original Recipe Arena in Louisville. PERIOD.

  115. dan

    110 not that i’m aware of but there are or has been scheduling issues in the past for the Cat’s to even get to practice on it’s “homecourt”. As well as the city having their hand in the profits…ie ticket sales, concessions, etc.

    I’d much rather seem them build something on campus but funding is the problem. This discussion of a new arena has been in the works for years. Taken up most recently by Barnhart and Todd. First they approached the city and was told no. Then the IMG fiasco. Then the state legislature and was given the cold shoulder pretty much….so now they’re back to square one with the city.

    I say to hell with all of em! Renovate Memorial Coliseum! Knock out the walls, dig down ten feet, raise the roof whatever it takes. The lease expires between UK and the city on Rupp in 2017 and I say start now and part ways. Let them do whatever the hell they want with it. See how they like that.

  116. BigBlueBrock

    UK doesn’t have to cut the city a check, the city just gets a significant % of money from concessions at UK games. WAY too significant of a %, I might add.

  117. Catfanone

    If you build it we will come

  118. Tubby Gopher

    Of course UK wants a new arena and doesn’t want to renovate. But that doesn’t mean that a new arena is a good idea for the city or a good idea in general.

    Keep Rupp – the best college basketball facility in the country – and make it even better.

  119. BigBlueBrock

    Rupp Arena is not the best college basketball facility in the country. And there’s nothing that can be done to bring it close to the best. A new arena, on campus or downtown, is the only way to do that. And if UK wants a new downtown arena, UK will get a new downtown arena. Its that simple.