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So far, UK Football season ticket sales are…less than ideal


Photo by UK Athletics

Given last season’s success and this year’s favorable schedule, you would think Kentucky football season ticket sales would be up from previous years; sadly, the numbers suggest otherwise.

According to Joe Mussatto, as of Monday, UK had sold only 32,885 season tickets, well behind their goal of 40,000. Last year, UK sold 33,658 season tickets, but the program hasn’t eclipsed the 40,000 mark since the 2013 season, Stoops’ first in Lexington. During the Rich Brooks era, UK sold on average 45,000 season tickets each year.

What the heck happened? Some will frame poor ticket sales as a reflection of fan interest, but it’s likely part of the bigger trend of fans choosing to stay home to watch games instead of going to the game itself. As we’ve seen in both football and basketball in recent years, more and more fans are staying home to watch from the comforts of their own couch in lieu of making the trek to see the game in person. It’s a sad trend, but honestly, between HDTV, your own snacks, your own beer, and the ability to check social media and pause for potty breaks, it’s a very, very real — and understandable — one.

With 30 days until the home opener vs. Eastern Kentucky, there’s still time for sales to pick up. Remember, when DeWayne Peevy hosted KSR last month, he announced UK’s Yahtzee season ticket campaign. Should season ticket sales surpass the 40,000 mark, at each home game, one section of Kroger Field will get to play Yahtzee for two free 2018 season tickets. That’s pretty awesome; however, if sales continue at this rate, it may be out of reach.

[SEC Country]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

48 responses to “So far, UK Football season ticket sales are…less than ideal”

  1. kvltclassic

    As someone who works in athletics it is something that is happening everywhere. I work at a program that couldn’t have more hype coming into this season, and season tickets are up but they’re still not fantastic. A big deterrent for me with stuff like that is beer (and to a lesser extent food) prices. Although at many college programs they don’t sell beer, but for events beer prices are so ridiculous and food prices as well I wonder if it won’t force vendors at these events to lower prices in an effort to see increased attendance. Viewing a sporting event in person is always better than on TV if you look at it in a vacuum but after the cost of a ticket and then the idea of drinking at 8 dollars a beer or bringing your family and having to buy snacks and drinks (upwards of 12 dollars per person) it just becomes cost prohibitive.

  2. krautdog

    The fans are getting wise to overpaid Stoops annual smokescreen! Doubt this the situation @ Papas John’s. Results matter!

    1. secrick

      You are so full of BS. FUMBLE

    2. KYcats11

      41-38

    3. krautdog

      IN A FULL HOUSE!

    4. RealCatsFan

      Wasn’t it your last football coach who said he wished that Louisville fans were more like UK fans?

    5. xXWaddle10Xx

      We don’t mention him on this sight anymore.

  3. runtsfan

    I don’t think it’s cost and I don’t think it’s preferring to stay at home. The current students and recent graduates are not as connected emotionally to the school and its teams as older fans. I gave up my tickets a few years ago and have been surprised that I have not missed them. I think what you are seeing is a demonstration of a lessening of interest in big time sports generally. Look at Disney and its ESPN problems. The college athletic programs are just big businesses now. If I were an NFL team owner, facing the threat of another fan boycott over the Kaepernick matter and the inevitable reduction in participation because of the concussions, I would sell my team immediately. It’ll never be worth as much as it is right now. And I don’t think UK will sell more season tickets in the future. The base is probably about thirty thousand. It’ll stay there for a good while, but I don’t see it increasing, whether they win or not.

    1. Sentient Third Eye

      I think you’re onto something. Many in the current generation are reluctant to get driver’s licenses because that’s time away from their precious video games. I guess football is just another such annoying distraction.

    2. RealCatsFan

      Video games or Snapchat / Instagram on their phones, STE.

    3. damage_control

      It’s those darn 3 and done players. Don’t get to know anybody anymore.

    4. J-Dub421

      Old geezer rants against younger people for not going to games, then admits he gave up his tickets a few years ago and isn’t going back = irony.

  4. secrick

    The younger generation can’t stay off their cell phones long enough to watch a ball game. I know i’m old but you know it is the truth.

  5. KYcats11

    For me, it’s the price. If I’m spending my whole day away from family, it would need to be a little cheaper. That being said, I normally pick up a few single game tickets throughout the year.

  6. AllBlueAllDay

    For me the issue is the prices. I’m just fresh out of college a few years ago, so between me and my wife’s school loans, car payments, mortgage, and etc we just don’t have enough to spend on season tickets and the concessions. With that being said, we do still love to taillgate where we can drink all the beverages we want and snack on whatever, and not cost ourselves an arm and a leg. I’m sure there are others who may be in this boat too.

  7. The Original WTF Guy

    SECRICK, I believe you are onto something. I believe if UK and other places offered really great wifi that everyone could get on and use, it would (sadly) make a difference to these millennial morons.

    But there is another, even bigger factor, that being the in game experience. It sucks. And it sucks everywhere. The problem is not so much that games last longer, but rather that there is so much time when nothing is happening due to television breaks.

    But fortunately, I, The Original WTF Guy, have the solution. All games will be played as if there was no television broadcast of the game. If television wants to show ads or let Gary and Verne yammer on for 10 minutes they simply hit the pause button, do what they want, and when they are ready to show more football they hit play. Yes, those watching at home will be behind and yes, they may not be able to follow on social media – so freakin’ what. If that is an issue, get off your butt and go to the game. Why should those sitting in the bleachers on a hot September afternoon or cold, wet November night have to suffer so someone can watch from the comfort of their home? Play it live with minimal breaks in the action and I believe more people would be willing to come out.

    1. RealCatsFan

      I like this – and the networks could offer PPV that is an uninterrupted feed with no stupid commercials, much like they do for boxing.

    2. foamfinger

      Only “problem” with this is that those TV timeouts are really helpful to the players to get more of a breather, especially with how offenses have sped the game up in the last 10-20 years. If you’re fatigued, not only do you make mental mistakes, but you also open yourself up to injury through poor technique.

      Perhaps, they should just have fewer TV timeouts. Didn’t the NFL take out the TV breaks right after post-TD kickoffs to speed the game up?

  8. RightForTheFight

    If you wait long enough, you can also snag single game tickets off of StubHub for pretty cheap.

  9. david8577

    Sell beer. Best regards, Capt. Obvious.

    1. RealCatsFan

      … at a reasonable price – NOT $12 for a 16 ounce cup!

  10. Jayy

    I am still mad about them moving my parking pass. We used to have a big group get together in the blue lot and it is not the same since they moved us all. Doubt I will ever buy tickets again.

  11. UK Football BRO

    Make Basketball season ticket holders also buy football tickets. The numbers would improve.

  12. KTR2786

    Selling beer would have the biggest impact. Thanks religious nut tards in the SEC.

  13. GoatHunter71

    My grandfather was a season ticket holder for 20 years until 2 years ago. He quit going because the ticket office told him he couldn’t get the parking pass he had gotten for 20 years prior (Red Lot). He is 70 years old and the ticket office wanted him to move to whatever lot is over on Alumni. He told them if he didn’t get his parking pass then he would not purchase the tickets that year. Their response? “Okay thanks for your time. “. The athletic department has done this to several old season ticket holders that have stuck it out through the losing seasons. This isn’t the main reason for the decline, but I assume they would love to have those dedicated fans back. Also…serve beer

  14. Tree Beard

    Agree that ticket prices and no beer sales are big contributors. I had season tickets 2007-2011 but have not been convinced since then that the product on the field has been worth the rising prices. Also a lot of people’s incomes haven’t kept up with the cost. Lastly, still not sure that the general fan base is sold on Stoops, especially after the 1-6 ending to the 2015 season.

  15. njCat

    Someone needs to send this thread to Peavey and Barnhart.

  16. wildcatdon

    With my family it is pure cost, both tickets and parking plus my sons are older and not interested in spending that much time for a game anymore, and they graduated from UK. Games take entirely too long..We had season tickets for 14 yrs through the 90’s and early 2000’s but had to give them up when high school happened..Now they have ruined the orange lot where we used to tailgate and we couldnt get a parking pass if we wanted one because cost is prohibitive..Oh well we enjoy watching at home.

  17. Mathlete

    Wages are between flat and falling, unemployment is straining people around the state outside of the main cities, meanwhile ticket prices are higher, tailgating options are fewer, and the couch is suuuuuuuper comfortable and there’s beer there. I’m not surprised season tickets are down.

    Personally, I hope to go to a couple of games this year but I don’t see myself buying season tickets unless I suddenly have a lot of extra money to burn.

  18. RICKSVD

    Win, plain and simple. If they win 8, kill in this recruiting class, you won’t be able to get a ticket.

  19. Catlogic15

    Live in Louisville and used to have season tickets. After the advent of the SEC Network, many games were moved to the 7-7:30 slot. With the TV timeouts to pay for it, the games became interminably long, and we wouldn’t get back home until 12:30-1 a. m. Just became too much. I think a lot of Louisville-based ticket holders felt the same way.And the season parking pass situation has been a cluster f**k as well. Prices are laughingly ridiculous.

  20. abgunz

    I purchased the Pocket Pass for $205. Hopefully enough of the fans are also doing this so that it accounts for a chunk of the reduced season ticket sales this year.

  21. TBW3011

    I’m excited and a huge fan. I can get good tickets to any game I want. I’m not paying for every game when I can pick and choose the games I want to attend and pay less.

  22. az1006

    As one poster mentioned, it has nothing to do with people losing interest in sports. I’d argue sports are more popular than ever right now, and the amount of money both college and professional sports generate should be all the evidence you need to that fact. People have just changed the way they consume the product. Instead of going to games, you can watch from home on an HDTV and see plays from a million different angles, or you can watch from a mobile device why you do any number of other tasks simultaneously…People are still interested and still watch, they just don’t do it from the stands.

    For me, it boils down to money, time, and convenience. If my wife and I go to a game, it’ll cost at least $80 for a pair of tickets. A tank of gas to get there and back and at least one night in a hotel would run anywhere from $150-$200 (I’ll err on the side of caution for a football weekend), and we’d have to buy food and drinks for two people for a day and a half. We could spend upwards of $300-$400 and have literally no time to relax for the entire weekend.

    Or….I could do whatever I need to do on my Saturday morning/afternoon, spend $50 on beer and pizza, and sit on my couch in a climate-controlled environment with a bathroom 20 feet away, anytime I need it. Doesn’t make me less of a fan. Doesn’t mean I’m less emotionally-invested. It boils down to simple economics for me: The return on investment I get is greater when I watch from home.

  23. catfanjd

    1. UK needs to designate a smoking area at football games
    2. Beer and alcohol for normal fans needs to be available. Not just the special areas.
    3. UK Athletics needs to stop being so arrogant and recognize the digital age. I have a great view from my couch and when I inquired about season tix first under Mumme then Brooks they just couldn’t seem to find 2 seats together, really? They also have lack of regard for longtime season ticket holders as proven during stadium remodel. Have a lot of Lexington friends that didn’t renew over that fiasco.
    4. Basketball U.K. wants $4,600 + for 2 Lower level seats to watch us play the sisters of the poor and a weak conference schedule. That is a nice vacation for a week with my family. Not doing that just to have the big games played elsewhere.

    Just posting one fan’s experience and decisions.

    1. catfanjd

      Oh and I forgot to mention the 9:00pm tip offs on a weeknight. Just not worth the hassle

    2. 206Bones

      That is 10 years worth of vacation for me and my 8 at the KOA

  24. robman181

    Did someone really mention Keapernick and ESPN as to why UK is not selling season tickets?

  25. robman181

    For me it’s simple. Parking passes are to hard to get, tickets are too expensive and the stadium upgrades did little for the common fan to address the increase in price. Bottom line is game day expierience isn’t worth the price.

    1. catfanjd

      You hit the nail on the head better than I did

  26. b48750

    My family and I had tickets at Commonwealth since it opened in 1973. Lost those due to the reseating decision several years ago. Haven’t been back since and doubt that I will. Still love the Cats and watch every game on TV but won’t support financially.

  27. Ray in Paducah

    For someone who has attended at least one game every year the past 19 years, this is what I’ve noticed. Decent tickets for non-students are outrageous, there’s really no flow to the game due to more games on tv (advent of sec network, etc.), we don’t have good traditions or chants, and food is too expensive. So now I sneak in a flask AND beef jerky.

  28. StuckinLville

    It’s simple. People can’t afford those prices so they sit on their couches and watch it at home. Prices for events just keep going up and they are making it difficult on fans. I remember in 03 UK vs Florida at Rupp, upper was 17 and lower 22. Now, try to go see a game of that caliber and you’ll be paying 150 a piece for lower. They want an easy solution, drop the prices.

  29. Catsby80

    it’s very simple. the prices are too high. i am a season ticket holder with 4 other guys (5 of us in total). we’ve all agreed that this is likely to be our last year, unless the cats win 8 games. Tired of rising prices for a lesser product. I live in Louisville and it is way too convenient, with all of the technology we have access to, to sit at home and watch it from my couch for the cost of my cable bill. easy decision.

  30. Ichabod24

    The ridiculous amount that you have to pay to the K-Fund for any half way decent ticket is the reason I won’t buy. I guess that’s the trend in college sports today and it’s no coincidence that season ticket sales are down literally across the board! They price out the most passionate sector of their fan base for the uppity rich crowd that sits on their a$$es during the game because it’s beneath them to cheer. Same boring crowd that sits in Rupp like corpses unless we are playing North Carolina or Florida.

  31. BigCatBlueARK

    Had tickets for nearly 25 years till this year. It wasn’t about the games or the quality of play for me. I am actually very happy with the progress and the staff the program has. Time will tell if they can keep progressing. I did not renew my tickets because we did not feel safe anymore. Last two years I have not felt comfortable taking my daughter to a game because of the vulgar fans and drinking the University allows. Two times I was assaulted by Kentucky fans. You can’t say anything because they will just be back next week and it will get worse. Not a family environment for the general K-Fund Ticket holder. You have to shell out thousands of dollars to have a safe and respectful place to watch the game.

  32. bacnine

    As far as attending another UK football or basketball game I could car less. Me and my family has supported both programs since my father attended UK basketball games at Alumni Gym. There is no loyalty to the fans that have supported the program through thick and thin (mostly football). As one poster mentioned I will support the program but never again financially. We had FB tickets since Commonwealth was build. Lost those and parking pass through the new alignment. Went from 40 yd line to 20 on the opposite side of the field. Parking pass went from green to parking structure. Since of community -there is none. Our tailgate has blown up.
    UK BB. Dont get me started—probably has to be the worst home bb schedule in collage BB. The talk that fans don’t get excited at the home games. Who can get excited over Faber College, Wossamota U….