Sunday, December 09, 2001

UK basketball attendance falls again

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — The average attendance for the University of Kentucky's home basketball games has fallen in each of the last three seasons, and this season's numbers show a record low for UK's first four games in Rupp Arena.

        A problem?

        Not really, says UK Athletics Director Larry Ivy.

        Mr. Ivy said that Kentucky continues to sell all of its 18,000 season tickets, and ticket manager Barbara Osborne said that the lottery for any unsold season tickets grew to 2,000 names this preseason. That more than doubled the number of names in the previous year's lottery, she said.

        But UK is not escaping unscathed financially. Royalties revenue from the sale of souvenirs dipped to $1.5 million in 2000-01. That's down sharply from the record high of $2.9 million in 1997-98.

        The performance of all UK sports teams can influence royalties revenue, but men's basketball is the driving force, said Kyle Moats, UK's director of athletics for marketing.

        Although the downturn is much sharper in royalties revenue than attendance, Mr. Ivy downplays the significance.

        “It tends to peak and valley with how far you go in the NCAA (Tournament),” he said, “especially if you win the national championship. That really drives it up.”


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- UK basketball attendance falls again