UK basketball ticket lottery is out as part of student ticket changes
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eRupption Zone fans are announced before the game against Eastern. The University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team hosted Eastern Kentucky University, Sunday, Dec. 07, 2014 at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Photo by Jonathan Palmer, Special to the CJ (Photo: Jonathan Palmer, Jonathan Palmer)
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Major changes are coming to the way the University of Kentucky sells tickets to its students for men’s basketball and football games.
Starting in July, the long-running traditional men’s basketball student ticket lottery will end in favor of an online ticket purchasing process. Students will now enter games with a mobile ticket accessed through the UK Athletics app instead of with a paper ticket.
As part of the changes, students will now be able to purchase men’s basketball season tickets for the first time (as long as they also purchase season football tickets). Three different season-ticket packages will be available for purchase at UKStudentTix.com starting on July 17 at 9 a.m.:
► BBN Student Football Pass ($35): Admission to all home football games in 2018. Offers a $35 discount from buying individual tickets for each game.
► BBN Student Pass ($175): Admission to all home football and men’s basketball games in 2018-19. Comes with a Team Wildcat membership (t-shirt and other benefits). Offers a $95 discount from purchasing individual tickets to each game.
► BBN Student Pass Plus ($200): Admission to all home football and men’s basketball games in 2018-19, Team Wildcat membership, a tumbler, access to exclusive facility tour and priority access to postseason football and men’s basketball tickets. Package includes a $25 K Fund donation and five K Fund bonus points that would allow students who are interested in purchasing seasons tickets after graduating to start accumulating points in the K Fund priority rankings for donors.
Individual game tickets will still be available for purchase for $10 throughout the year. That price represents an increase of $5 for single-game football tickets, matching the cost of single-game men’s basketball tickets last season.
“Our students are the heartbeat of our crowd and their attendance is absolutely essential to creating the best possible home-field and home-court advantage,” UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release announcing the changes. “Our goals in implementing this new system are to modernize our student ticketing process and use technology to make it as easy as possible for our students to purchase tickets and attend games. We appreciate the feedback of our students and the partnership of many on campus to make this possible.”
With the ticket lottery going away, students will no longer be able to select where they want to sit at men’s basketball games. Like at football games, where student seats have been distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis in recent seasons, students will now be assigned a seat at men’s basketball games based on when they arrive. The standing-room courtside eRupption Zone will be filled first.
“Our students are the heartbeat of our crowd and their attendance is absolutely essential to creating the best possible home-field and home-court advantage.”
After purchasing tickets, students will be prompted to claim their ticket for each game during a designated window prior to each game on the UK Athletics app. Any season tickets that go unclaimed during those windows will be reallocated for single-game purchase.
The number of student tickets available for football games will remain unchanged, as will lower-level student seating at men’s basketball games. Upper-level student seating at Rupp Arena will decrease but “continue to be adequate to meet the demand for student tickets as measured in recent seasons, while considering construction impacts for the upcoming renovation to Rupp Arena,” according to a news release announcing the changes.
The BBN Rewards app, which awards students points for checking into events, will be used to establish men’s basketball ticket claim priority. Student tickets for sports other than men’s basketball and football remain free of charge.
The proposed UK budget released earlier this week included a 2.5 percent tuition increase for the 2018-19 school year but abolished the previous student athletics fee. With the fee gone, student ticket eligibility will now be based solely on full-time status (12 credit hours for undergraduate students and nine credit hours for graduate students).
UK met with several student groups on campus and elicited feedback from fan-experience surveys conducted by the Southeastern Conference to determine it should change the process for accessing student tickets, which previously involved students having to attend in-person lotteries for men’s basketball games throughout the season.
“Thank you to UK Athletics for including Student Government in the development of the new student ticketing process,” UK student body President Michael Hamilton said in the release. “We believe that the changes will increase attendance at sporting events by streamlining the process by which students buy and claim their tickets.
“Although we will miss the tradition of the lottery at Memorial Coliseum, ultimately this move will alleviate the burden of the process previously in place and allow students to more easily do what they love — cheer on the Cats.”
Major changes are coming to the way UK sell men's basketball and football tickets to its students. Check them out.
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