Home Basketball Rupp Arena unveils major upgrades

Rupp Arena unveils major upgrades

Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen
Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen

When word came out that Rupp Arena was going to be changing the bleachers in the upper arena to chairs with backs, Big Blue Nation erupted with joy. No longer will fans have to hunch their backs or sit up straight to watch their boys in blue and white. Now, fans can sit back and (maybe) relax while watching some incredible basketball games.

Rupp Arena: blue seats with numbersThe new seats are just in time for Big Blue Madness, which happens on Friday, October 11 at 7 pm. Not only will basketball fans enjoy the new seats, but concert goers will be elated to have something to lean back on while enjoying their favorite performer.

“This change represents the dawn of a new era for Rupp Arena. Changing from bench seating to chair back seats is a major upgrade for Rupp concerts, family events, and UK Basketball fans,” says Lexington Center President and CEO, Bill Owen. “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!”

Sections 211 through 217 and 228 through 234 have been upgraded to the new chair back seats. For now, sections 218 through 227 and 235 through 244 will remain as bench seats.

Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen
Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen

Rupp Arena’s new capacity for basketball is now 20,545, and up to 19,576 for concerts.

“Chair backs have been on our wish list since the 1999 renovation. This has been 20 years in the making,” says Owen.

Messer Construction Company oversaw the chair back seat installation and is part of the new and expanded Lexington Convention Center project.

Lexington Center announced another major upgrade with a new hospitality partner, Levy. Levy started providing upgraded concessions for Rupp Arena patrons and elevated culinary experiences for Lexington Convention Center guests.

“For the first time in its history, Rupp Arena has an executive chef, Chris Ross,” said Owen. “We are excited to introduce the signature brand ‘Hardwood & Oak’ that Levy has created for Lexington Center venues. Through this partnership, we are now able to offer our patrons a unique, handcrafted culinary experience.”

Rupp Arena patrons can now enjoy premium concessions such as, Hot Brown Nachos with Blue and White corn tortilla chips, Pulled Pork Mac-n-Cheese, and a Kentucky Short Rib sandwich. 

Don’t worry Big Blue Nation, soft-serve ice cream will still be sold in Rupp Arena. 



Subscribe to the Ace e-dition for Lexington news, arts, culture, food, and entertainment news delivered to your inbox.

Call today to advertise in Ace, 859.225.4889