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Barnhart: Less is better?

The man, the myth, the legend future Locks-of-Loved onor Kyle Tucker sat down with Mitch Barnhart as well, along with Gentleman John Clay. Mitch apparently made it known that he’d prefer a renovation of Commonwealth Stadium to include less seating. This seems counter-productive in its face, and not the norm for SEC schools. However, could it make more sense? There is an argument to be made that a focus on aesthetic and functionality of the stadium trumps the sheer number of people you can fit in.

We’ve gone back-and-forth on this subject regarding a renovated Rupp Arena fitting less people, and vanity tells us that we want more seats so we can be #1 on the list of biggest arena, biggest attendance, etc. However, there is a very compelling argument that that improvements (i.e. corporate, luxury boxes) would outweigh the negatives. And now we have reached a similar talking point about the future of UK football’s home field.

I’m a bit torn. I want to have more numbers and more attendance, but that requires a demand for more seating and for fans to fill the seats again. Also, what benefits are there to the improvements that force less seating? That’s something to be addressed. Is the aesthetic of the stadium more for the fans for the players? Do recruits want to see more butts in seats or a nicer stadium? That’s a question I can’t answer, but I am very curious as to how Commonwealth’s future plays out.

What say you?

Article written by Chris Thomas

44 Comments for Barnhart: Less is better?

  1. I say
    10:12 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I says…. Your broken English is terrible and hard to understand…..secondly, since we draw 18,000 fans to a game now and UK reports 50,000, we should add more seats so they can say we had 80,000 at every game!! FILL THE SEATS FIRST stupid!

  2. Why is this even a question?
    10:14 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Attendance trumps anything we could possibly do to the stadium.

  3. jpgott2
    10:19 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    It all depends! What is Barnhart thinking in terms of a reduction? Does Mitch no realize that UK put an average of almost 70k during the 09-10 season (102% capacity)

    The seats will be filled. People act like this past season is a norm with UK, and forget to look at the reality of our previous seasons attendance averages. UK fans had enough of the Phillips era, and they revolted, thus this past season was only an anomaly.

    1., UK was just reporting sold tickets. They are a business.

  4. Shelbyjoe
    10:20 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Agree with #2, size matters-u wanna compete with the big boys in football, u better have at least 75000 seats to “look” big time. This ain’t UL, this is the SEC.

  5. bigbluejon
    10:26 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I understand the need for luxury boxes, I just would prefer either :
    1. Seats, or
    2. Backs on the bleachers.
    If Papa Johns Stadium has anything on CWS (obviously its newer), its seats. If and when we get the stadium full again, I’d like to not be squished in between everybody. Maybe they could give season ticket holders those bolt on seats at least.

  6. LeX
    10:27 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    4 Thats all well and good but if you cant sell those seats you look like a team that no one cares bout. Miss st built a smaller stadium and theyre doing just fine. UK doesnt need a 70k football stadium. You know what looks better than 10 thousand empty seats? A winning football team.

  7. Matt
    10:28 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    How bout a nice stadium with more seats? why not both?

  8. LeX
    10:32 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    7, Because theyd never be used and thus a waste of money.

  9. Adam
    10:35 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Is #1 the same person who comments on almost EVERY post, criticizing grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.? On a UK sports website? GTFO and get a life, nerdlinger.

    And in response to the article, I’m down with less seats if it means a nicer stadium. Or I can handle additional seating too. Whatever, I’ll keep buying my season tickets and parking my butt in my seat. I’m dumb enough to give UK Athletics my money no matter what, so I trust them to spend it on SOMETHING half-way decent.

  10. Slingblade
    10:36 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Go to Lucas oil stadium wed site and tell me it’s not impressive….seats 63000 for football…No recruit could say no to this

  11. Old Cat
    10:50 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    When CWS was built, the design provided for adding a 3rd deck on each side seating near 100,000. If Stoops does what we expect maybe we can pull out the original plans and fill up a 3rd deck. Thing BIG.

  12. Hard times
    10:54 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I know the economy is horrible and getting worse. I know people from out in the state don’t believe it or want to hear it but coal has built UK and their sports teams, like it or not but it’s a fact. The coal business is in shambles and getting worse and the state is set to lose millions in tax dollars this year that they are accustom to getting. So I don’t think UK will be getting the funding for all the upgrades they are hoping for.
    What ever they do with CWS I’m sure will be nice but they had better not be raising the price on seating to much. If they do they could be pricing theirselves out of fans who can afford the seats. UK has been lucky to have boosters like Joe Craft. LD gorman, RJ Corman, and Elmer Whitacker.these men have gave graciously to UK. But now with Coal in the position it’s now in I don’t think they will be quite as giving. Then maybe some of the students can keep having they’re protest.

  13. katzrjamers
    11:00 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    with the positive feeling for this coach/coaching staff change UK seems to have now, why not take advantage of this “one more last chance” and go for it all? more seating, more luxury boxes and more corporate suites. just remember to add in the niceties for the press so they remember us favorably when they get stuck standing in the bathroom line somewhere in the heart of the SEC. if Stoops & co. deliver, ESPN, etc, may open a KY branch office. UK athletics are self funded, fueled by football revenue. There’s a lot of money coming our way with the SEC television contract, so why not invest in the future?

  14. Wildcat Willie
    11:01 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Count me as one for less is better. I would love for us to rebuild Memorial with close to the same number of seats and really focus on making it luxury or an experience. The smaller arena the louder BBN would be and we would create an atmosphere impossible for another team to come in and win. I’d pay for that experience. Same as with Commonwealth. Make it all about the experience. If I’m sitting a half a mile away from the action I’d just as soon watch at home on my HD 120″ wide screen Projector. I could care less about attendance records.

  15. Colin
    11:02 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Oregon’s Autzen Stadium holds only 54,000 people; however, it is one of the most loud and intimidating stadiums in the country. The way its built allows all the sound to center in on the field itself rather in going in all sorts of directions. It’s also one of the nicest stadiums I’ve been to.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind holding less amount of people if they could somehow make CWS more intimidating/better looking.

  16. UK Freshmen
    11:08 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    That’s what we are looking for…..a good clear vision. Hahaha.

  17. Catfanran
    11:13 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I think most of you are taking this wrong on filling the
    Stadium. Look at what the teams of. MLB did they went from
    Stadiums that held 70,000 but had maybe 20,000 to show up
    New ones or refurbished with capacity of 45,000
    And they have sell outs. With luxury boxes and sky boxes
    It would compensate and make up the difference. I say
    Go smaller. CFR

  18. KC Bryan
    11:15 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    I say tear down Commonwealth stadium and them play their first year in the ruins. Then the program will truly be starting at rock bottom.

  19. Just make it nice
    11:20 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Just make it better than Papa Johns . . . Those Dirty Birds have a better football stadium, basketball arena and baseball stadium than we do…..Heck all their facilities are better than ours . . .lets AT LEAST have ONE facility better than LOUISVILLE!!
    PS.. Where’s all that funding coming from….they are now building a new SOCCER stadium, the largest on campus soccer stadium in the country…..GEEZ, is Jurich that good???

  20. UK Freshmen
    11:27 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Yes, #19. Jurich is that damn good. Didn’t you listen to Coach Strong? Good night, BBN.

  21. JBR
    11:31 pm December 18, 2012 Permalink

    Man, it is so ironic that I have always supported Mitch over the years…and now that he has made a great hire, I am turing on him more and more because it is like he has completely lost his intelligence rambling on like he does. He essentially admitted that his friendship with Joker would have kept him around if it were not for the fan base finally making the decision for him…and now he wants to make our stadium smaller. Really Mitch? Of course, if we disagree, he will accuse us of having an agenda. Mitch just needs to do his job and shut his mouth. I thought more of him than this, and thought he was treated unreasonably at times by the fanbase…but he is burning his own bridges.

  22. John
    12:28 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    So we finally get what looks to be a pretty nice staff for the football team and it appears they are gonna make UK exciting again. Now Mitch is thinking about reducing the size of Commonwealth??? Does he not understand that exciting football and wins will have Commonwealth sold out in the near future??? Does he not believe in this staff or what? If he wants to put backs on the bleachers or make them chairs great. But at the same time he should be thinking positive and also talking about adding the third deck to increase capacity. The Joke is gone and the fans that have been consistently in the top 25 will be back. If Stoops gets UK rolling there will be more fans trying to squeeze into Commonwealth than ever.

  23. Twin Condiments
    6:08 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I visited ArrowHead stadium in Kansas City this time last year to watch the Packers / Chief’s game. That stadium was built in the 60’s. They have put seats individual seats in as well as luxury boxes. Their ribbons between the 1st and 2nd decks light up like a scoreboard. The place is beautiful! I say sacrifice a few thousand seats and aim for for that except make it an all blue stadium. If things get much better we can always add on.

  24. Steve
    6:22 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Renovate Rupp and put chairback seats everywhere. Given the price of tickets $42 for the upper arena the least that can be done is make sure fans are comfortable.

  25. tommyt
    6:58 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    20 – Jurich is a joke….most overrated Athletic Director in the country. UL fans are the dopes for buying what that man is selling.

    21 – Smaller doesn’t mean less revenue. I’m guessing that they would make it $60-$65K instead of $70K, but they would raise the ticket prices to accomodate for less tickets being sold.

  26. Rick
    7:25 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #19 – Jurich is stealing the money from the state’s taxpayers. And it means nothing to have nice facilities if you can’t fill them up (Papa John’s Stadium), they get shut down (Yum! Center), and when your own football coach criticizes the lack of interest from your fans. #L1C4closure

  27. WTH
    7:31 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Less seating? Take that sucker to 85,000. Real SEC teams play in stadiums that size or bigger.

  28. Howard Goodpaster
    8:08 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Why not let the Kentucky taxpayer pay the bill so the rich can have a better place to watch the game. It’s all about money and not the idea that more fans might be able to enjoy the game live.

  29. BigBlueLush
    8:24 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    SERIOUSLY? NEW COACHES, NEW EXCITEMENT, smaller stadium. Makes perfect sense. Not.

  30. jpizzle
    8:24 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I would say smaller makes more sense. With almost every game televised and the cost of tickets, I think it’s reasonable to assume that less seating makes sense on a lot of levels. As much as I would like to go to a game, I’m content wih watching at home or with friends. Make it nice for those who do spend their hard earned money to go to the games.

  31. UK Fan
    8:43 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    As with our AD…less is indeed less.

  32. Anyone with half a brain
    8:45 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    More seats at Rupp, the demand has been there for years. Commonwealth could survive on a few fewer seats if it had more appeal, but to reduce it significantly would also be irresponsible.

    Tickets sales pay the bills, tickets don’t sell without good product. Spend your money first on what recruits want (weight rooms, player facilities, FSU hookers, etc.(i.e Craft Center)), then it will be obvious what you need to do with the patrons facilities.

  33. jack cruse
    9:11 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Mitch Barnhart is a caretaker and a lightweight. Downsizing Rupp, or CWS for SEC football, are both ridiculous. Uof L will announce plans to expand PJS to be larger than CWS immediately upon confirmation of UK plans to downsize.

  34. Joe
    9:59 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    All you bigger is better fanz miss one point, which is the “bigger” or the “more” involved, isn’t attendence, but MONEY.

    IF, Sky boxes make UK more money, then that’s the way they’ll go. Butts in the seat make you coin, but sky boexes might bring in more….sad to say, the “fan” is less valuable than the “Booster in the box.”

    Although, I guess that makes sense, IF the “fan”: is going to stay home and watch the game in, what is functionally, his/her sky box, at home on the plasma. So it does make a degree of sense to reduce the number of seats, that may not be filled and replace them with boxes, that will be filled and make more per game…

  35. ikeeveready
    10:13 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Everyone worrying about the Pizza Pit need to realize that in the Charlie Strong era they have sold out 3, THREE games. Two of those have been against the Cats. They can expand all they want but the fan base will just look MORE meh.

    However, if Commonwealth goes down in size to say 60,000 but adds blue SEATS throughout, wraps the entire outside of the stadium in blue, white, and black, improves all of the restrooms maybe even adding a couple at the ramps (no more troughs), open up more unique concession opportunities (a la Slugger field), and adds additional luxury space with loge seating on top of the existing boxes on each end of the stadium or fill in those areas with seating and build new boxes at mid-field, keeping the ~70K capacity. By enclosing the endzone you create a much louder environment. Then you have a much more exciting atmosphere and imposing look to the stadium and still maintain the highest capacity in the state.

  36. plowboy
    10:48 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who calls another person stupid is juvenille and is probably quite familiar with that word and needs to reflect on himself. Try a litle love it works miracles. Anyone using that word is just showing their age.

  37. paducahfan
    10:56 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    If you reduce the number of seats, you have to raise the ticket price by at least the same percentage for it to be revenue neutral, and with the new coaches costing a lot more, revenue neutral won’t get the job done. You’d have to have an extraordinary increase in ticket pricing (lots more VERY premium seating)and because most of the UK fans drive some distance,and I think the fan base is getting older, I don’t think they’ll pay much more. SO – although I think “less is more” sounds good and I like it in concept, I don’t think it’ll work.Mitch has to hope for a good program and fans coming back to fill the seats that are already there.

  38. Ken Stringer
    11:28 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Tennessee added a pro-stadium style clubhouse to the upper level of Neyland a few years back and had to reduce seating by about 3K to make room for the larger seats and aisles. Looks great and generates booster $ (but not wins on the field).

  39. wild turkey 101
    11:57 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Would have a stadium a little more plush vs. a larger, droll one. The pizza bowl only seats 45,000.

  40. WildcatFloyd
    12:08 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Most important thing is to NOT have empty seats!

  41. JLivermore
    12:09 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    The size of the stadium is a secondary concern. To leverage football financially, you have to have a consistently competitive football team, and not just one that ekes out a Music City Bowl on the back of wins over non-BCS schools. When you look at the revenues of the top athletic programs around the country, the one thing they have in common is a huge percentage of revenue coming from “contributions”. These contributions are no doubt primarily a result of the mandatory “contributions” that come from football season ticket holders. Kentucky’s “contribution” level is a fraction of its SEC football power counterparts. I’m not sure what size makes for a better stadium, but I do know that the only way to substantially increase football revenue is to develop a nationally competitive program.

  42. Joe
    12:10 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    If you reduce the number of seats, you have to raise the ticket price by at least the same percentage for it to be revenue neutral, and with the new coaches costing a lot more, revenue neutral won’t get the job done.

    I don’t think you see the whole picture….the improvements and new staff aren’t funded via attendence, but, most likely, thru the TV contract, and the future SEC Network. You seem to think that the “Fanz” at the game pay the freight and they don’t, or at least not entirely.

    Further, it is true, that a reduction in seating causes greater ticket prices, but FOR THE OCCUPANTS OF THE LUXURY/SKY BOXES. That’s the point of having them, that on a square foot basis you can make more from boxes, than an equivalent amount of fan seating. So, yes tickets prices may rise, but not necessarily for the fan in the seat, but for the owners of the box.

  43. KYWCAT
    1:24 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Are people so fat and lazy these days they can’t sit an entire game without seat backs or arm rests. They should take the bleachers away entirely and make us all stand like we should be anyhow.

  44. SanAntonioCat
    4:39 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Everyone has good points. The mine is bigger weighs against mine is smaller, but works best for all. Baylor is currently beginning construction on a 45,000 seat U-shaped partially covered on campus football stadium with every convenience and amenity avaialable including suites/cub seating. Go to the Baylor website and check it out. The stadium can be expanded to 55,000 by completing the bowl shape. It is a known fact that college football attendance is down across the country. The economy and home entertainment have much to do with it. If sacrificing X number of seats makes for a better overall fan experience, we would all welcome it.