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Rupp Arena Unveils New Upper-Level Chair Back Seats

The chair back seats have been officially installed in the upper-level of Rupp Arena.

This morning, the Rupp Arena marketing department invited the media in to check out the new addition to the historic basketball venue.

“This change represents the dawn of a new era for Rupp Arena,” Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen said. “Changing from bench seating to chair back seats is a major upgrade for Rupp concerts, family event and UK Basketball fans. The new seats will provide much greater comfort, improved access to seats throughout the event, easier aisle access, more leg room, arm rests and yes, cup holders!

Chair-back seats have replaced bleachers in sections 211 through 217 and sections 228 through 234.  Bleachers will remain in sections 218 – 227 and 235 – 244. Rupp Arena’s new capacity is now 20,545 for basketball, and up to 19,576 for concerts.

The chair back seat installation, managed by Messer Construction Company, is part of the new and expanded Lexington Convention Center project now underway.  Since closing last June-September for seat installation, Rupp Arena will spring back to life in October with a busy event schedule.

“Lexington Center’s partnership with Oak View Group and Live Nation Arenas is continuing to keep Rupp Arena on the map as a ‘must play’ venue for various tours and we keep adding more and more shows to our lineup,” Owen continued.

The change comes just in time for Big Blue Madness, along with several other basketball and concert events scheduled in the coming weeks.

The official Rupp Arena YouTube page posted footage of the construction process, along with the finished product:

And a few pictures:

Fans will get their first opportunity to check out the new seats for the first time on Friday for Big Blue Madness.

Go Cats.


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

15 Comments for Rupp Arena Unveils New Upper-Level Chair Back Seats

  1. Realme
    2:07 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

    Excellent. Should have done this a long time ago.

    • jhnny
      8:47 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

      So, did they use the same concrete foundation? If so, I’m not sure how knee room would be any better. Seems like it might even be worse. Maybe I’m missing something.

    • RealCatsFan
      7:25 am October 9, 2019 Permalink

      Jhnny, I don’t see how they could do it any other way. changing the concrete would be a major undertaking – might as well change the whole setup and add the luxury suites if you are doing that. Legroom looks pretty good in the pictures, but maybe that is just the front row.

    • DelrayCat
      10:31 am October 9, 2019 Permalink

      Yeah, there’s just not enough room period up there. Add that to the fact that the average Kentuckian is 50-100 lbs overweight and it makes the whole experience miserable if you’ve got a 250+ lb guy on both sides of you.

  2. StuckinLville
    2:12 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

    I hope the bleacher seats cost less. Kinda dumb not to put seats all around.

    • Bluehender
      2:20 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

      It sure is

  3. Bluehender
    2:18 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

    What took so long??

    • j
      2:59 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

      Well, the crew tossing the seats around looked real professional.

    • RealCatsFan
      7:26 am October 9, 2019 Permalink

      You could probably toss those seats off the back of a truck on the interstate and not hurt them. That’s high impact ABS plastic.

  4. Ridge Runner
    3:54 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink


  5. BigBertha
    5:29 pm October 8, 2019 Permalink

    Very nice!

  6. sportsbird66
    12:01 am October 9, 2019 Permalink

    I love it

  7. catsarerunnin
    6:40 am October 9, 2019 Permalink


  8. BBN1982
    10:31 am October 9, 2019 Permalink

    Stupid they didn’t put chair backs around the whole upper section. Smh ?????

  9. CrystalBall
    12:15 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

    Still would prefer an on campus arena. But not going to happen.