March 01, 2013
Tickets to UK's spring football game became available yesterday morning, and it became apparent early that this year would be different.
By the end of the business day on Thursday, more than 23,000 tickets had been picked up at the UK ticket office or through Ticketmaster. UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart tweeted early on Friday morning that overnight sales pushed that number past 26,000. Executive associate athletics director Dewayne Peevy tweeted just after 9 a.m. that UK had passed the 27,000 mark.
So what does that mean? Here's a look:
--27,000 tickets is 6 times the announced attendance of 4,500 at last year's spring game, which was the lowest in the SEC.
--The highest attendance on record for a UK spring game is 20,235 in 1987. While these are just tickets reserved and not a count on the day of the scrimmage, that record seems sure to fall.
--According to Jen Smith of the Herald-Leader, it would be more than the attendance of Kentucky's last two home games last year. An open records request revealed only 18,885 fans were actually at the Vanderbilt game, and 20,930 were at the Samford game.
--Going by last year's numbers around the SEC, 27,000 tickets would put UK ninth in the SEC in spring game attendance (ahead of Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, and Vanderbilt). National numbers are tougher to find, but it appears that would put UK in the top 25 based on last year's attendance numbers.
--Additional perspective: UK's undergraduate enrollment is in the neighborhood of 20,100, and a total enrollment of about 28,000. Rupp Arena has a capacity of about 23,500, and a record attendance of 24,479.