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TBT: How the student ticket lottery has evolved

UK Men’s Basketball 08_09 UK vs Florida UK wins 68-65
UK Men's Basketball 08_09 UK vs Florida UK wins 68-65

In honor of Throwback Thursday  I thought it would be fitting to bring members of the BBN a little comparison of a past tradition and how it has evolved in an event UK students look forward to each basketball season. The one and only way to get the best student tickets for UK Men’s Basketball games before anyone else: the lottery.

Let’s take a trip with father time (and a few UK alum) and see how this ticket distribution system used to work back in the day…



The lottery used to have a setup similar to that of Big Blue Madness campout. Students would wake up bright and early at 6am on Sunday mornings and line up at Memorial. If you were brave enough, you pitched a tent and camped the night before with your pals to be guaranteed lower level seats. Tickets were free, the only price you paid were the occasional freezing temperatures and a few hours of your time.

Pros: Free tickets in 3-4 game bulk and any extra student tickets (upper deck) were sold to the public.

Cons: People would hold spots and then scalp tickets to students at pricey rates.



In the last year of the Billy G. Era, tickets were as easy to come by as one could imagine. Students would walk into Memorial Coliseum around 8:00/9:00p.m. and easily get their number drawn for a seat. Any reason why tickets were easy to come by? It couldn’t have to do with ole Billy could it?




And thus came the Calipari Era where demand for tickets was at an all time high and student lottery attendance skyrocketed. Necessary adjustments to the lottery system came and were proven so effective that little has changed today. The steps are as follows:

  1. Students register online with a UK login the week before the physical lottery at Memorial Coliseum
  2. A certain number of students are randomly selected from that initial online pool to attend the lottery
  3. Once you arrive, (doors open at 8:00 p.m., lottery begins at 9:00p.m.) you are given a number that corresponds to a group of 100
  4. Students wait in the hot and packed Memorial for their number to be called
  5. Once your number is called, your student ID is required and tickets may be purchased for $5 per game

After the first three or so groups are called, the entire list of numbers is placed on the big screen for students to see. And while every student who attends is guaranteed a ticket, many don’t want to sit and wait for over an hour to get upper level seats. And thus, the fickle are weeded out.


If you have any student ticket lottery memories from your time at UK, please post your experience in the comments!

Article written by Kelsey Mattingly

Drew Franklin is my spirit animal. @kelseyKSR

1 Comment for TBT: How the student ticket lottery has evolved

  1. cdeventing
    11:56 pm November 3, 2016 Permalink

    Don’t forget BBN Rewards – now there are month-long blocks where our Rewards points are tallied and ranked – top 600 get to skip the lottery and just show up Monday night to get our tickets, Erupption Zone only though. It’s WAY better than having to go through the online system, and not enough students are on board yet for it to be competitive – this last lottery it took 20 or 30 points (all sports are 10 pts/game) to get in the top 600. From what I’ve heard, they’re hoping to transition to the point that this is the only way to get E-Zone seats.