Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Check out the new Rupp Arena renderings and video

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray revealed new renderings of Rupp Arena today in a press conference at the Lexington Center. The renovated and widened Rupp will create a better experience for the fans with improved seating, concourses, corridors, and a transparent structure that will open the arena up to downtown Lexington and the surrounding area, while maintaining the bones of the original building. For you basketball fans out there, which would be you, the new-look Rupp will keep its seating capacity but with wider, chairback seats in the upper level. More legroom, too!

The current plan is to complete the project by the fall of 2017.


Birdseye view


From Main Street


Exhibition corridor




Cat walk


Interior bowl


Interior restaurant


Entry from Triangle Park


From Triangle Park

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

116 responses to “Check out the new Rupp Arena renderings and video”

  1. BigBlueAces

    My one big request–PLEASE get rid of the exposed, dusty, RED ductwork!!!

    1. Kill the RUPP ductwork creator

      Like x 1,000,000

      If they do only one thing it’s paint the ductwork and hire a cleaning crew to dust it more than once every lifetime it would enhance my RUPP experience infinitely.

    2. johny bluegrass


      If only there was a way to create more of a student section!

      UK has very loyal followers, yet, in general, they are merely content being entertained (talking about those sitting lower arena).

      Compared to the vast majority of the college venues, Rupp does not support ‘fans’…short for fanatical support. I have been told to sit down almost every time I have attend a game…regardless of the score of opponent.

      It would have been nice to create a level…removed from the court…for the wealthy blue bloods and give the lower section for the students and those who actually want to cheer vs those content to sit and watch.

      Changes look nice though.

  2. asdf

    What happened to the stormtrooper? The preliminary drawings promised us a stormtrooper.

    1. Stooper trooper

      It was replaced with the new fad (Josh Hutcherson) accompanied by to cheerleaders and a scorned onlooking wildcat.

    2. brad

      and horses running freeeee!!

  3. Not The Real Turkey Hunter


  4. BBN GUY

    I see ya Kige! Hanging out in the interior restaurant!

  5. Rybo

    Wow this is amazing!!!

  6. Josh E

    Ridonkulous……..can’t wait!! Super stoked

  7. Duh

    Can anyone explain why the video screens outside the arena are larger than the ones over center court? I don’t think the designers get how important massive video screens will be for new arenas. The ones they show are way too small and are hardly any better than what Rupp Arena has already.

  8. Wesner

    I like it, and I love all of the video screens. What about the Civic Center shops? Call me crazy, but I think we need to get an ESPN Zone outside of Rupp. It could be special. Also, did they address if we will lose any seating while they are renovating?

    1. MissinReagan

      From the article: “For you basketball fans out there, which would be you, the new-look Rupp will keep its seating capacity but with wider, chairback seats in the upper level.” In other words, it will seat the same amount of people as it currently seats. YAY!

  9. BigBlueAces

    This is badass

  10. Block Party

    #2 – we were also promised Jimi Hendrix. I can give up one or the other, but not both.

  11. stillHere

    You can always spot a good joke, put in by the interns doing the renders. Looks like the woman in the middle of the exhibition corridor shot is about to flash everyone.

    1. RealCatsFan

      I likey!! Big Bertha, I guess that means you’re outta here, beotch!

      I do agree with others that the jumbotron / scoreboard at center court needs to be as huge as possible. Can we just break out the massive rotating one we had for this years’ Madness?

    2. RealCatsFan

      I think they need to leave her in the design!

    3. Al/in/Indy

      Good eye stillHere!
      This is going to ROCK!

    4. Oh yeah

      It’s titled “Exhibition Corridor”

      So will the bar/restaurant be open during basketball games? Is this a way to skirt SEC rules?

    5. Josh

      I put a hidden penis in every set of plans I submit to architects. And I’m a licensed professional engineer. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t give a crap.

    6. duh

      All of this stuff is meant to distract you from the fact that the design sucks. If they removed all the garbage, then everyone would be talking about how ugly it looks. How there’s no decent video screen upgrades inside the arena.

    7. Musehobo

      Ha, it does look that way. But as a graphic designer, it looks to me more like someone trying to make use of a stock photo that serves a different purpose. But she most def looks like she’s about to drop her clothes.

  12. Al


  13. Eye Spy

    Anyone else see Josh Hutchison on the concourse with cheerleaders? Nice touch.

  14. Boogie Fan

    Looks really incredible.

  15. Tim

    That Hunger Games guy is in that fourth photo with two cheerleaders.

  16. BoCo Cat

    Based on picture number two and the final one, I’m going to go on and suggest “The Prow” and “Good Ship Rupp” as nicknames for the new design.
    Also really wondering why the girl in picture three looks like she’s about to flash all of us

    1. HillbillyInBC

      Well, it is an exhibition corridor.

  17. katmandue2you

    Ooooooooh,….take that Lousyville!!! I’ll see your Yummy and raise you one Ruppdiculious!

  18. Not Fan

    Does not imitate the original drawings.. One side raised and one side flat…..not a fan.
    Although, the inside changes look to be nice, especially the new corridors.

  19. MattP

    Dig it! I think it would be great to re-do Rupp instead of a new place. Retains our history but polishes it up to todays standards!

  20. dccat

    So, are there going to be any suites? Didn’t hear that mentioned.

  21. Leroy Byrd

    Every dude in the bar area has jorts on.

    1. Yup

      This ain’t Florida!

  22. Houston Err We Have A

    Dear UK Marketing department, could you please include more minorities in your videos other than the ones on the court. I realize the University nor its sports programs are racist but as an African American I would enjoy a more inclusive vision of the programs future. Thanks.

    1. ricky p

      They need more Irish-Americans too. I see way too many German and English Americans and not enough Irish. 😉

      Just playin around…but in all seriousness, the UK marketing dept didnt make this video..

    2. CatsChickinCardsCountry

      I think the video was produced by the city of Lexington, not the UK Marketing Dept.

    3. Brian

      UK had nothing to do with the making of that video.

  23. RealCatsFan

    I would still like to see a raised playing court and a “mosh pit” of students surrounding the floor – or at least along one side so they show up on nationally televised events.

    1. duh

      Agreed. And larger video screens over mid court. It must be a bunch of old people who have good seats who are in charge of this renovation.

    2. Bjarke

      Yeah that view from triangle park really looks like it was designed by old people, completely neoclassical. Seriously if the middle screen is too big (cowboys stadium) people don’t even watch the real court anymore, there is a happy middle ground somewhere.

    3. duh

      Bjarke, it looks like something an old person would think a young person would like. It’s ugly and adds nothing to the real fan experience inside the arena. Look at the video screen, the players are smaller in them than the actually view. What is the point of a video screen that diminishes the action?

  24. BigBlueBrock

    I feel like the Wildcat mascot is there to commit murder.

  25. Carol Beirne

    It looks fantastic but also looks like we’ll lose our seats at Rupp just like we’re losing them at Commonwealth! 🙁

    1. ricky p

      losing seats in commonwealth was a good thing. Quality> quantity. Might be the case here too. we’ll see

    2. rqa

      The comments above say no loss of capacity. Seeing that they are going chairback in the upper deck they will need to add several rows of seating meaning not only will you get nose bleed in the upper rows, you will also need an oxygen mask!

  26. dhighdrated

    needs more fog and photoshopped atmosphere!!

  27. Bjarke

    This project, especially the view from triangle park is amazing and truly world class. Another important thing to mention is that plaza out front. Now when we win national championships we will have a legit place to mob, not just standing in the streets at the corner of Euclid/rose or limestone/maxwell. I LOVE it.

  28. jman3715

    Who’s the hot chick with no pants on about 30 seconds in?

    1. David Hendren

      Its my wife!

  29. Garrett

    Are we building a space ship or a basketball arena?

  30. bigblue

    How much is this going to cost..250-300 million… Do not really care just curious

    1. Sayeth

      $310 M according to the news conference. Paid for by the Lexington Center, state & city bonds, tax increment financing for the area immediately around Rupp, and private contributions, including naming rights for everything except probably Rupp Arena itself (in other words, “Big Ass Fans Zone” or “Fifth-Thirds Convention Center” would be okay, but Grey specifically said they didn’t want change the Rupp name.) Also mentioned were fan contributions, probably in the form of buying an engraved brick or some similar symbol, but specifics were not mentioned.

  31. peyton

    Outdoor video screens are expensive – expect those to be the first cut when they have to inevitably have to start scaling things back.

  32. Kyle1980

    Sorry Louisville but your arena just became the KFC Yuck Center

  33. m@

    I cannot WAIT to pay 7 bucks for a diet pepsi there!

  34. Bubba Earl

    That must be “Flashey Ashley” Judd

    1. Acmcga01

      It’s Kate Upton from her Sports Illustrated shoot

  35. Ray in Paducah

    Looks like an alien spacecraft… but it’s better than a huge stained white rectangle.

  36. Jeff

    So the renovation of an existing arena built in 1976 will be more expensive than building a new area, eg KFC Yum Center?

    1. duh

      Pretty dumb, huh?

    2. No


    3. No

      Convention center and park included. Plus, the yum center was more for just the center.

  37. Casper

    Are they gonna replace those small hard plastic seats?

  38. MonkeyHumpnaFootball

    Our Arena with creepy tentacle spikes can kick your arenas ass!

  39. bigblue

    I’m pretty sure part of the cost is also for renovating the convention also.

  40. inside info

    It says completed by 2017. So I guess we can expect it to be finished mid-2020s?

  41. nuzeguy

    Unrelated, has anyone with KSR read the terrible slam piece Dana O’Neill did on Travis Ford. Wow! Unbelievable even by her…

    1. MattP

      He’s getting it from several sportswriters. DeCourcey even wrote a piece about him and he never slams people. Matt talked about it on the show this morning. I think Ford is deserving of it though.

  42. Chaz

    I’ll buy Bertha, but only if the lowest bid wins.

  43. bobofky

    Did I see something that looks like a creek running through this layout and if it was a creek will it be stocked with CATFISH ? lollolol Where’s my pocket fisherman?

    Can’t wait to see visitors (wearing red) marveling in abject envy and torment at our new Ruppex travaganza,

  44. Just Asking

    In this video there are several building that pop up right after the green grass is lain in what used to be parking – Are those parking structures? Anybody know?

    1. MattP

      Yes. There is plans for a two-story parking garage around back. It is where the Cox Street parking lot is now… between the viaduct and the back entrance (players entrance) to Rupp.

  45. RKA

    The girl at the 40 second mark is smoking hot. Who is she?

  46. Beans

    So, did every survey participant say “The problem with Rupp is outside of Rupp” Because I see a lot of changes outside Rupp, and basically the same in-rupp experience. Thousands of dollars spent to fluff up the idea of spending all this money on the convention center and parks and streams.

    1. Amen

      Amen ! Think I will canoe my way to the games through the new creek !

    2. Good Lord, people...

      ^ ^ haha, idiots. Both of you.

  47. CopenhagenCat

    Looks Awesome no doubt. But is there going to be comfortable seats in Rupp for everyone instead of those bleachers? I rather be comfortable and have a lil room than worry about what the pictures look like while I’m eating.

  48. bigblue

    Heard something previously that when rupp was built there was an existing creek out front which was covered up with concrete assuming for road/sidewalks

    1. MattP

      Town Branch….

  49. CopenhagenCat

    Never mind I just saw where there will be seats in the Upper level. Sweet

  50. Will

    Looks Awesome!! Hope they improve the concessions in the process…the food sucks!!

  51. Tiffany

    What happened/is going to happen to the Civic Center Shops? When the weather is bad, it’s especially nice to set foot inside a structure, be able to eat, drink, shop, see the game and do the same afterward without going out into the elements until it’s time to go somewhere else or go home. What about the pedestrian bridges that connect Kincaid Tower, Victorian Square, etc. to the Hyatt and Lex Center. I love the look of the renovations, but hope everyone’s not getting so caught up in the frenzy of ‘luxury suites’ and ‘something new’ that they forget about functionality!!!

  52. Gabe

    #48. Um, of course there is a creek that runs under the city that was covered years ago. It’s called Town Branch. Do you even Lexington, bro?

  53. bobofky

    The Triangle Park entrance is awesome but it smacks of the Louvre which hints of a city not too far from here. Uh Houston,,,

  54. Build On Campus

    Come on UK…grow a pair and build a world-class basketball arena on campus.
    This is more about downtown and the new convention center than about Rupp. The renderings are so bad that you cannot clearly see what is going on. I have a feeling a bill of goods is being sold.

    Let me be clear, I was ok with it when I saw the original drawings that were leased last year. This is a far cry from those drawings.

    I am going to be honest….I do not care one iota about bringing a creek back above ground, a brewery district or all of the other attempts throw in this plan to make Lexington’s downtown a vibrant place….I wish them well but am afraid it will not happen. I have traveled this country a plenty and taken notice of cities that have revitalized their downtown districts. In most case that has not happened successfully until the cities traffic issues have grown to the point to where yuppies start moving downtown to avoid the commute….folks we are a long way from facing those types of problems in Lexington. I am just telling you what I have seen. Oh! And the arena district in Columbus….American Electric Power has more employees housed in buildings within a few blocks of that arena district than most of Lexington’s entire downtown employers combined. Plus, that arena is home to an NHL franchise which is a big draw to that district.

    Now, what I do care about is a world class basketball arena , afraid we are being sold a bill of goods! Unless they can show better renderings and explain in detail the other amenities, I say UK build your own arena and let the city worry about raising creeks!

    1. MtnCat

      Yes, turn Lexington Center into, well Lexington Center.
      Bring Rupp back home!
      Build on Campus!
      Avenue of Champions!

    2. The Urban Planner

      The concept of yuppies moving downtown and having an arena district are interrelated. You have to start somewhere. Yuppies move downtown, not necessarily to avoid traffic, but because it’s the place to see and be seen. Nobody wants to be seen on Cox Street in it’s current configuration. A perfect example of where this concept does work is Lincoln, Nebraska. The Haymarket District was a mess of abandoned warehouses that became restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, and farmer’s markets once the new ballpark and arena was built. Lexington screwed the pooch by not thinking far enough ahead to put the minor baseball league stadium downtown.


      You obviously dont care about Lexington. Quit complaining, this will be excellent for both the University and our city.

  55. Dave

    In my opinion, Rupp Arena is as good as it is. Besides the upper levels, I really don’t feel like it’s necessary to renovate anything else. This seems more like a contest between UK and U of L as to who has the nicest arena in the state (or biggest d*ck).

    1. True

      True…All the interior designs look like yum center, lastyears drwaing looked ead on like yum center except turned at a different angle. come up wit somethin original.

  56. paul

    Love the idea, but count me part of the crowd that will ‘poke’ fun at the tentacles. See what I did there? Did you see it?? Worked hard on that.

    Back to business, the elevated design is too modern in the sense that it will quickly date the building. Looks cool in the rendition, but think actual build out will disappoint and then be stale in 5 years. I think the exterior should look something like a larger version of Memorial but with glass to allow light, openness, etc.

    You’re welcome.

  57. Kristie

    Maybe I missed him, but where is Cal in this vid? Why is that other coach in it and not Cal?

    1. Kristie

      My bad. He is in there. Thank goodness!

  58. catlogic15

    “Big Ass Fans”.

    Speak for yourself.

  59. Huff

    Can we please put some thought into the contradiction that exists in stating that the seating capacity will remain the same, while adding seat backs and wider seats to an upper arena…but keeping the original “bones” of the arena. The seating in the arena is MAXED OUT for the space available within those “original bones.” Adding wider seats in the upper arena sounds great, until you think about the logistics. They either have to expand the shell (aka, the bones) or it doesn’t work…and the renderings do not look like it’s expanded at all. Sounds like a bait & switch of a construction company looking for a contract.

    I won’t be surprised in the least if what is now proposed turns into “well, after we’ve gotten into this, I’m afraid that there’s just no way to finish without decreasing seat capacity…but it’ll be shinier!”

    1. Drunk Swanson

      The “shell” is being expanded by approx. 25′.

    2. Huff

      I hadn’t seen that mentioned (granted, I’m only going off of the renderings and the video that looks like it was put together by a mix of EA Sports and the 6th Man Movie, as I haven’t had the chance to read it). Thanks for the added info.

  60. DustinUK

    Overall, I think it looks really sharp. However, the exposed rafters are still a major issue in regards to arena atmosphere. They need to put a facade right under the rafters so that all the energy and attention is focused downward instead of dissipating into the sky. It would make Rupp feel half as big which would go a long way towards improving the experience for fans attending the games.

  61. uknbama

    I really like the aesthetics, but I am concerned about the shell of the building and how well it progresses in the future. We’ve all seen the Agriculture buildings on campus and can immediately date them. It was a latice fad that came and went in a very short period of time. I hope that this will not be the case with this building. I know it’s modern, but classical stands the test of time.

    1. Duuuuuude

      I agree, but am not sure any building can avoid being dated to one extent or the other. The lattice facade you mentioned on the ag building was meant to resemble heads of wheat at the time it was built. I think they removed it a few years ago which helped, but it did date the building I agree.

  62. Cats, Cats, Cats

    As an upper-arena season ticket holder, yes, “same seating capcity” looks great at first glance.

    However, I’m guessing that includes the new luxury suites. Thus, the regular seating capacity goes down while still maintaining the same total of seats as now.

  63. steve

    Will miss parking behind Rupp off Manchester. Hate garages.

  64. John Coy

    What is transparent skin?

  65. Louisville Kentucky Mortgage

    Wow, greatest Basketball arena in basketball no doubt.

  66. Dana L. Short

    This is HORRID!!!!!

  67. blue

    did they talk at all about where parking will be located? these renderings are nice, but I don’t really buy all the green i’m seeing.

  68. fireants25

    not gonna lie this looks unreal esp the huge screens with the games scrolled of the outside of the building…renovation or not this will be the “gold standard” just like the locker rooms and craft center…i cant wait to see this one day WOW WOW WOW

  69. Wichiefawma

    I wiwwi wike it,sep I want an awea to tie my sheep at wile I watch game. I fink u need hay a wound outer awea and hAv hog wallos in fwont of awena.

  70. for reals

    Seems like a lot of work and expense to not show much. A lot of photoshopped ppl and atmosphere and not much clarity on what will be reality.

  71. James

    Why not?

  72. WIll Wright

    Did anyone else feel like they were watching a clip from Sim City at the beginning?

  73. Duke Believer

    Need a large mural of Christian Laettner at Mid Court…….Blue Devils Rule !!!!! HAHAHAHA

  74. Sharon

    Lets use a bunch of money we don’t have, to build something we don’t need, because what we really need is to squeeze even MORE people into downtown Lexington. Great idea.

  75. Sharon

    And where, pray tell, are people supposed to park? I see in the animation that they have taken the parking lots across the street and built buildings on them, but they don’t look like parking structures. And the whole area under the bridge, no parking there if they’re putting in a grassy area. SO where, exactly, are all these people supposed to park?