LEXINGTON, Ky. — Greater comfort and accessibility is coming to Rupp Arena patrons and UK Basketball fans who sit in the upper level of Rupp Arena for concerts and home UK Basketball games. Today Rupp Arena unveiled the new chair back seats that replace the bleachers along both sidelines, just in time for the 2019-20 event season.
The new upper arena chair back seats will be ready for the start of the event season, kicking off with UK Basketball’s Big Blue Madness on Oct. 11, UK Men’s Basketball Blue/White Game on Oct. 18 as well as Ariana Grande on Nov. 17 and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Dec. 5.
According to Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen, “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 event and UK Basketball fans. 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!”
Chair-back seats have replaced bleachers in sections 211 through 217 and sections 228 through 234. Bleachers will remain in sections 218 – 227 and 235 – 244. Rupp Arena’s new capacity is now 20,545 for basketball, and up to 19,576 for concerts.
The chair back seat installation, managed by Messer Construction Co., is part of the new and expanded Lexington Convention Center project now underway. Since closing last June-September for seat installation, Rupp Arena will spring back to life in October with a busy event schedule.
“Lexington Center’s partnership with Oak View Group and Live Nation Arenas is continuing to keep Rupp Arena on the map as a ‘must play’ venue for various tours and we keep adding more and more shows to our lineup,” Owen continued.
“Last Friday we experienced the fastest sellout in Rupp Arena history with Luke Combs – 12 minutes. In just the past 12 months we have hosted Country superstars Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton and Alabama. Pop superstar Pink, the legendary James Taylor, Christian Music Supergroup Mercy Me, and even a Beatle when Paul McCartney graced the stage at Rupp Arena on June 1st, along with so many other great artists.
Not only are we excited for our annual events for your families like Disney on Ice, WWE and Monster Jam that we host at Rupp every year, but we will have Ariana Grande, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Five Finger Death Punch, Chris Young, T.I. and Casting Crowns in 2019 and we’ve already announced Lauren Daigle and Luke Combs for 2020. Tomorrow at 8 a.m., there will be yet another huge announcement from Rupp Arena … you’ll want to be on the lookout for that!” Owen said.
Lexington Center recently announced another major upgrade with its new hospitality partner, Levy, which started providing premium concessions for Rupp Arena patrons and elevated culinary experiences for Lexington Convention Center guests on Oct. 1.
“For the first time in its history, Rupp Arena has an executive chef, Chris Ross!” Owen said. “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,” he said.
Lexington Center Corp. is a not-for-profit 501c3 corporate agency of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government established in 1974 to manage and maintain Rupp Arena, the Lexington Convention Center, Triangle Park and the Lexington Opera House. Including one of the nation’s most storied basketball venues, Lexington Center collectively welcome an average of 1.3 million patrons annually. For more, visit lexingtoncenter.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.