Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

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

After low turnout, Calipari urges season-ticket holders to pack Rupp Arena

Attendance at Rupp Arena for Kentucky’s first three home games has been…underwhelming, to say the least. The turnout has been so bad that John Calipari sent a video to season-ticket holders this morning urging them to show up, which Oscar Combs was kind enough to share on Twitter.

“Alright guys, here we go again. Typical year. Young team. Probably a few more injuries than we’ve had at this point, but we need that sixth man as we’re going through this.

“All these teams we’re playing are good enough to beat us. We’re good enough to beat them. We still have a young team. Numbers are down. Fans become big in this. Get to those games, put those fannies in the seats and please be a part of this. Build these kids up as we try to figure all this stuff out together. Let’s go, BBN.”

Combs also shined a light on just how bad attendance has been. Although UK’s reported attendance for the Evansville and Utah Valley games was 19,101 and 18,859, respectively, Combs says the turnstile count was closer to 12,000. Yikes.

We’ve been over the attendance debate ad nauseam, and I totally understand fans electing not to come given the low level of competition and the team’s struggles so far; however, it does make me sad that it’s gotten so bad that Calipari had to send out a plea to fans to show up.

Hopefully season-ticket holders will heed Calipari’s call and the rest of the BBN will take advantage of deals like $15 eRupption Zone tickets for the Lamar and UAB games and cheap tickets on secondary markets. On Stubhub, you can get upper level seats for tonight for only $14. Imagine that ten years ago…


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.

62 Comments for After low turnout, Calipari urges season-ticket holders to pack Rupp Arena

  1. binarysolo
    12:28 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    If you’re a season ticket holder, someone who already paid for these tickets, then why wouldn’t you go? Or give them away? I can understand folks not being interested in buying individual tickets to see early season struggles, but why let your season tickets die?

    • Jayy
      12:52 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      I can’t give them away. Tickets have been in my family since Rupp opened. Will let them go back next year. The value of tickets for these early games is about 10% of what I paid for them.

    • DelrayCat
      4:01 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Same here. My dad had 4 lowers since Rupp opened. Once he passed I bought them. Then they started hitting us more and more for the K-fund “donation”. Then they tried to take away my tickets once because I simply tried to sell a few of the key games for a profit (to cover then donation). Their greed caused me to give them up. Instead, I pick out a few games I want to see and pay the premium on Ticketmaster or get cheap ones at the arena. Either way, I get to see them a few times a year live and I am happy. Generally, I think buying season tickets is a rip-off.

    • Righteous1
      5:11 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Well coach you created the issue so you can fix the issue. You are over compensated to put a product on the floor that represents excellence with the name “Kentucky” on the front of the jersey. This routine year in and year out is not cutting it. Not far away from seeing Rupp Arena with less than 50% from capacity in attendance. This is all on the 10 million dollar man with the lifetime contract. I am still waiting for the Loyal Cal Bitches Club to submit their comments in support to defend the 10 million dollar man

    • devildog587pi
      5:36 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      righteous1,well said.finally someone who sees it the way I do.i am so sick of the elite 8s,final4s but no championships.i would rather have a few more titles, rather than trying to figure out how a UK team that is a once in a lifetime team, can lose to Wisconsin.while duke wins the title in same year with half the team UK had.i love good recruiting, but would rather have the best coach.seems like every year our championship is in the recruiting class, versus on the floor.

    • Bluehender
      6:58 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      This response to devildog…it’s easy to figure out how they could lose to Wisconsin in that setting. It’s college basketball. IT’S A ONE GAME SHOT in the NCAA tournament Anything can happen. If it were a seven game series, no way they lose. But that’s college basketball..we were unbeaten in 35 games. Imagine the pressure…if you think the bullseye is big now, it’s nothing like it was on those kids. It’s pretty simple to figure out if you think about it a little…

  2. hhrjmoore
    12:32 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    No one wants to go to these games. Why would you when you can watch them at home on a huge HD tv, not have to fight traffic or weather. I will never understand any coach or university getting upset at fans for not showing up. That’s on you to schedule games the fans want to see and put a product out there that the fans want to actually pay for.

    • njcat54
      1:19 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Well said

  3. natedaddy
    12:35 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I was a season ticket holder for the last 13 years and this year we dumped them for 1 reason. Tired of seeing the same type of team struggle against lesser opponents, then get it together somewhat around tournament time, only to ultimately lose against a lesser team in the NCAA tourney.

    • DelrayCat
      4:05 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      That and they started scheduling most of the decent out of conference games at neutral sites….which creates more expense and hassle. Add in that K-fund BS…not worth it.

  4. StuckinLville
    12:53 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Cal has no one to blame but himself. He schedules these games that no one cares about and the good games he plays at neutral sites. If I was a season ticket holder, I would be pissed about the non-conference games. Also, tickets are ridiculous! They sell out only to go to resale for double and triple the price. No one can afford those prices. When #1 Florida came to town in 2003, lowers were 22 and uppers were 17. Why do lowers for a good game have to be 150 now? It’s ridiculous and then they wonder why no one goes. Gas, parking, traffic, lack luster play…better off watching it on TV.

  5. kellywjohnson
    12:54 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    They should take an accounting of the empty seats, and sell those season tickets to someone who cares about the team for next year. Ever notice that we have better crowds at big away games than we do at home games. That’s because they are the real engaged type of fans as opposed to the fat cat donors.

  6. StuckinLville
    12:55 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Not to mention I bet the bleacher sets aren’t any cheaper than those new chair back seats so that’s probably why that section is empty. I don’t get why they didn’t put chair back seats in every section.

    • DelrayCat
      4:10 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      They would have needed to lower the total capacity even more. Those uppers are insanely tight, especially in the bleacher areas. Again, it is all about money…and not fan experience.

  7. Doctor21
    1:12 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Not fortunate enough to have season tickets. Besides, they are just not fun to watch anymore. Lack of heart, lack of hustle.

    • DelrayCat
      4:11 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      UK season tickets are not the status symbol in Kentucky they once were.

  8. UKsuperdave
    1:31 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Watching a bunch of high school players get ready for the NBA isn’t as fun as watching actual NCAA basketball.
    Players 1st…

    • CB3UK
      5:29 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Amen to that. OAD blows. Sick and tired of it.

  9. bigtaters6957
    1:34 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Plain and simple, put a product on the court that people want to watch and they will show up. The whole “young team learning” excuse is tired, that is his system. He can’t be mad when fans know the team isn’t going to be good early in the year.

  10. VirginiaCat
    1:52 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    It’s clear that a malaise has settled over the BBN. For reasons great and small, all of which have been enumerate here to the point of exhaustion, Kentucky basketball has largely lost the excitement that made it special. The strong NBA focus has lessened the program’s connection to the university and the fan base. Underachievement since 2015 has affected enthusiasm, not to mention humiliating losses of an epic nature. There is also the element of Cal fatigue. The fan base still bleeds blue, but chooses not to attend games where the competition is weak and the level of play is poor.

  11. runningunnin.454
    1:55 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I understand what everyone is saying; and, it’s just not feasible for me to make the trip, just too far away. However, there are some schools with but a fraction of UK’s success, and their crowds are usually big and raucous.
    Illinois, Creighton, Nebraska, Marquette, and Pittsburgh come to mind. They all seem to draw spirited crowds, and have given their fans very little in the way of marquee games or national prominence.

  12. bigblue2284
    2:02 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    UK basketball has not been as interesting for the last three seasons. The last fun team was the Monk and Fox team and Cal even managed to make that team less fun to watch as the season progressed. It has always struck me as odd that the team gets worse after “Camp Cal”.

  13. channell
    2:42 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    When we have a coach with a huge ego and it’s all about sending 18 year old kids to the NBA after one season, the interest drops. I am sick, sick, sick of one and done and I haven’t understood yet why sending kids off after one year is more important than winning championships and putting a good product out there for the fans. Cal always talks about how young we are. Bull! We have five upper classmen. Youth and inexperience will not win the big ones without veteran players such as the unibrow team. We get out recruited by Duke every year now and guess what . That youth isn’t working for coach K either.

    • CahillsCrossingNT
      3:10 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Calipari can’t win championships with anything but the most superior talent (I.e. Davis). That’s why he claims the draft is more important. If it’s the draft that matters most, then decline an NCAA Tournament bid.

    • TonyMontana
      4:01 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      To be fair, everything he says about the draft is a recruiting pitch to all of the kids out there. You realize that is there dream right? That’s why we get all of these 5-star players and have the #1 class for 2020. If you’re sick of one and done, why are you complaining about our class rank? You would prefer a class of 3-star players? We would never even win the SEC.

      Imagine if some of our returning players for this season, also come back next season to group up with our top recruiting class. It’s really shaping up to be a magical team next year. Keep the faith.

    • CrystalBall
      5:27 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Right, Tony. When Cal makes an in-home visit the recruits parents don’t ask, “Coach, how can you help our son win a title”? “They ask
      “Coach, how can you help our son become a lottery pick”? All Cat fans should understand that Cal is recruiting when talking about the importance of draft night.

    • CB3UK
      5:31 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      No one is buying tickets to see someone chase dreams Tony. We buy them to see high level basketball executed. OAD cant end fast enough.

  14. Rod Crandler
    2:59 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I’m not sure it’s the quality of the schedule. We have seen Rupp packed for no-name opponents in the past. Maybe it’s that the fans don’t have a connection with the players like they used to. I couldn’t tell you several of their names if you showed me a picture. It used to be exciting to see new faces but it’s starting to get old especially when the level of play is not much better than watching an AAU game.

  15. pinch9
    3:06 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I am season ticket holder and couldn’t go to the Evansville game because of work. I have lower arena seats and put them on Ticketmaster which is the official reseller for UK Season Ticket holders. I listed them for $35 which is the lowest that was permitted on the site and they didn’t sell. I hear people say they can never get lower arena tickets. There have been lower arena tickets on Ticketmaster for less than face value for every home game so far.

  16. CahillsCrossingNT
    3:07 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    To me it’s also a sign that Kentucky has fallen from the nation’s elite.

    • ukbradstith
      3:19 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Who are these nations elite of which you speak? If UK isn’t one, then I guess they don’t exist.

    • Bluehender
      3:25 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Ridiculous statement from Cahill

    • 4everUKBlue
      3:32 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      What else do you expect from Cahill? That’s who he is Bluehender.

    • ceeph
      4:31 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Well then I guess you would be wrong. The problem is that every game is televised live and people can watch from the comfort of their living room on a 70 inch HD TV without all the pain and expense of actually going to Rupp. It used to be that not all the cupcake games were televised and if they were it was broadcast delayed at like midnight on a local network station. So if you wanted to actually see the game live you had to go to Rupp or settle for listening live on the radio.

  17. ukbradstith
    3:17 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    UL is having the exact same problems. We have always had large crowds, even for the cupcakes, but times are changing. ND-Navy in football is struggling to sell out, and that’s a pretty huge game. I can understand after the Evansville game, but before that we had just beaten the #1 team and we were the number one team in the nation. Going to games just isn’t as important to the younger generations. I agree that its too expensive, but honestly I don’t think that is much of the issue really.

    • Bluehender
      3:28 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Younger generations are not too interested and the older generation, such as myself are content to watch it in our easy chair, on the big screen HD. Unless you live in the Lexington area it’s just not worth the effort and expense..

  18. DelrayCat
    3:49 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    The Giant Elephant in the room on this argument is about money. When you have a coach that makes nearly $300,000 PER GAME for coaching this team, and the product on the floor during this time of the year reminds us of an AAU team…fan base apathy is the result. Of course, it is easier and cheaper to watch at home…but lets face it….general interest in basketball as a whole is down. The entire sport is no longer about winning for the school and general state pride. No, instead it is all about auditioning for the NBA. Fans are just not invested in these 18-19 yr old kids when in the back of our minds we know they are going on to make millions and millions (like their coach) in a year or two while so many average Kentuckians struggle to make their mortgage payment. Its just not like it was when those of us over 40 or 50 were kids. The name on the jersey doesn’t mean what it once did to anyone wearing it. Therefore, to a lot of us old school fans…many of whom have been the core supporters of this program financially for many years…we really just don’t care as much as we once did to open up our wallets to keep shelling out more and more money to this endless cycle of revolving door of rent-a-players….especially for crappy home games.

    • Bluehender
      4:19 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      ^^^^^That’s the whole package in a nutshell right there..

    • notFromhere
      8:33 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Absolutely FkIn NAILED IT!

      I’d rather watch them play and even lose to tough competition in Rupp than watch them against d2 and such. PRACTICE ON YOUR OWN DIME. I want to see this team compete against the best, but the schedule is increasingly getting weaker overall. At home it is abysmal

    • got3degrees
      8:32 am November 23, 2019 Permalink

      BINGO!! DelrayCat nailed it…best description of how I feel.. I would just add one sentence..” And we have an administration that doesn’t even believe we are mature enough to drink a beer at the games! “

    • nkycatsfan8
      9:43 am November 24, 2019 Permalink

      This is very close to how I feel. Cal created this entire thing all by himself. I had season tickets for 15 years and just gave them up two years ago. I just don’t feel the connection to the program I once did when I got to watch a player grow throughout his career. The one and done thing has slowly worn me out.

  19. KYJelly
    3:51 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t understand the slamming of Cal putting this message out there. He’s just trying to urge fans to show up and support the team, there’s NOTHING wrong with that. I understand that we look terrible right now and people don’t want to fork over the money for a mid-major game, but don’t slam Cal for asking fans to show up.

    I think it was Boogie who said something like “love you when you’re hot, hate you when you’re not”. Don’t be bandwagon fans who only jump on-board when we are winning

    • Bluehender
      4:21 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      I am a diehard Cat fan, definitely not bandwagon. But it’s easy to see why fans are disinterested. Just read Delray right above you…

  20. mapcatfan
    3:55 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    ?at a lot of these comments. I get the bad scheduling and high price complaints. Totally legitimate reasons. But let Cal win another championship or two, and the vast majority of those “sick of one and done” complaints will be non-existent.
    And no, I can’t guarantee he will win another one just like no one can guarantee that he won’t. At least with Cal we are generally in the mix. That hasn’t been the case since the late 90’s, and then you can go all the way back to Rupp.

  21. mapcatfan
    3:56 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    The question mark at the beginning was supposed to be a “roll eyes”.

  22. Matt10
    4:00 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Just to register another vote, I don’t go to the games much anymore because of the cost, the too late game times, the players I’ll forget after they play a year or two and the pathetic opponents that are scheduled. I turned down free tickets for tonight’s game.

  23. VirginiaCat
    4:40 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I understand that it is a hardship for many to attend games in Rupp Arena, so I have a solution. Please sell me your tickets to the Louisville game at a deeply discounted price so that I can take my family of four to the game. The better the seats and the better the price, the better you will feel after unloading your burden. Yes, I know that it will entail a huge sacrifice for my family to attend the game, but we are willing to do so in order to assist our fellow Cat fans. You can enjoy the game on HD television while we struggle to survive in your seats (lower arena preferred, close to the floor and parking included). No need to thank me, it’s for the greater good.

    • neilbert
      5:02 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      VirginiaCat , why did you pick the biggest home game on the entire schedule? Arguably , the hardest ticket of the year. You are exactly like the people you are ridiculing. Now , if you had said the next home game against some no name school you would have looked like you were just wanting to experience a game at Rupp..

    • BowdenQB4ever
      5:58 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      You posted cringe, bro.

  24. BleedingBlue1996
    5:02 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t post on here much, but my 2-cents worth: It’s all about product. If you have a good product, it sells. If you don’t, it won’t. Plus, no connection to any of the players.

  25. VirginiaCat
    5:25 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Neilbert: It was tongue-in-cheek and meant as humorous relief. No one was ridiculed.

  26. whatwasthat
    5:30 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Sad to see, haven’t even watched a second of UK basket or any basketball for that matter. When the season starts, think it’s March, I’ll watch some hopefully they make the ncaa and not the nit.

  27. Righteous1
    5:37 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Here is a thought: Do not schedule a game when the state playoffs are happening in football on a Friday night. Tates Creek and Frederick Douglass are both hosting games in Lexington tonight plus other other schools as well. I would rather go see the high school kids go all out under the lights than watch a UK team under perform against a mid major team. Blame that on the UK coach for scheduling and not give the high school football players their night under the lights

    • Righteous1
      5:44 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Someone posted the term on here earlier referencing “Cal Fatigue”. That may be the biggest factor for low attendance. A team that is not meeting expectations against mid-major competition is another.

    • notFromhere
      8:27 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed. “Cal fatigue” is a good description. I’d rather come in 3rd in recruiting every year and have a real shot to win it all 3 of 5 years. Don’t know how that could possibly happen, however

  28. DelrayCat
    6:29 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    You know it is crazy when you think about it…and I know UK makes money from a variety of places…but if Cal makes $300K EVERY GAME…and at $50 a ticket…that is 6,000 seats….or more than a quarter of Rupp Arena’s capacity… goes just to pay his salary. Good gig if you can get it.

  29. notFromhere
    8:24 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Cal’s officially gone hollywood…

    Listening to celebrities moan about lack of attendance at their movies and events when they’ve gotten their money is comical. Put a better product out there. I’m tired of watching the same team every year– people I don’t know wearing the jersey of the team that’s my favorite.

    I appreciate the players, don’t get me wrong. I’m tired of the product and the one man show. If it truly was about the players and winning a title, rather than about Cal doing what he wants to do regardless of what’s best for the program, it would be a different story.

    If we could get a great recruiter and a great all-around coach, that would be something to see. As it is now, I don’t see any reason to watch until maybe February or March. Thankful for the football staff that is recruiting AND developing players. It’s great to see.

  30. notFromhere
    8:35 pm November 22, 2019 Permalink

    Cal’s got the cash. He should buy back the empty seats against these 25pt underdogs and give them to kids that are UK fans. Not college students, but kids. (With a free ice cream cone for each)

  31. plumloopy
    1:27 am November 23, 2019 Permalink

    Wow – I’ve never seen such one-sided comments about the state of things in the one-and-done era. So few defenders. It really feels like people have had enough.

    I’m not in the Lex area and haven’t been for years. I don’t currently have ESPN nor the SEC network at the moment. I used to pull all kinds of shenanigans to stream a game, even from spurious sources. I haven’t seen them on TV yet and I’m shocked to realize that I actually don’t care. I mean I DO care, but it’s not worth the effort to see a bunch of players I don’t recognize although I do start to “know” them around February. I’m fine to just read the articles.

    I always hope the rare 2nd and 3rd year UK 4/5 rated player who sticks around becomes a star, but in the end it seems to turn out that if they weren’t good enough to make the NBA jump as a freshman, they almost never will. Whether they stuck around for a while (Poythress, Montgomery, Richards, etc) or transferred, they don’t have an NBA future, sadly. They either leave after their Freshman year and get their shot or they’re not good enough and languish in the G-League or make a living in Europe, at best.

  32. Adam
    9:15 pm November 24, 2019 Permalink

    I live in Knoxville and try to make it to a game every year. I’ll go when they come here and may go to the Vandy game in Nashville. I surprise myself at how little I care about missing games now. It’s just hard to watch. When was the last time we went into the tourney with more than 1 inbounds play?!? Ugh. We lost to K-State in the tourney by playing the only style that would allow them to beat us. The UConn losses were just so many bad coaching moves. Etc. I love cheering the kids on, but I just can’t get to know them in 6 months. I miss Mashburn, Shep, Wayne Turner, Epps, etc. just guys who wanted to compete and represent BBN with pride. I just miss that.

  33. Cole28
    9:46 am November 25, 2019 Permalink

    First year season ticket holder here, and I’ve only been to 1.5 games. The first one was Evansville, so I figured I was bad luck. Went to the next game, and left at half time because poor performance. Haven’t been back because the effort had looked terrible and competition even worse. After the Lamar game, I’m thinking about going to the next game.

    Also, as far as “giving away” tickets when I can’t or don’t want to go – it’s actually pretty difficult to even give them away, at least on short notice anyway.