Rupp Arena
Rupp Arena is an arena located in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. Since its opening in 1976, it has been the centerpiece of Lexington Center, a convention and shopping facility owned by an arm of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and serves as home court to the University of Kentucky men's basketball program. With an official capacity of 23,500, it is the largest arena built specifically for basketball in the United States. In Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team annually leads the nation in college basketball attendance. The arena is also host to many concerts, conventions, and shows on a regular basis.

The arena's primary tenant is the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball program, but the Kentucky Wildcats women's basketball team has also hosted games there in recent years, particularly an upset in early 2006 of the #1 Tennessee Lady Vols. Rupp Arena was the host of the 1985 NCAA Final Four, won in an upset by Villanova. It also formerly hosted the Kentucky Thoroughblades (currently the Worcester Sharks) and the Lexington Men O' War minor-league hockey teams, and the Lexington Horsemen arena football team (capacity 7,550), numerous concerts (theater capacity 2,300; concert hall 10,000; arena capacity 23,500), conventions, and other events. It is named after UK coaching legend Adolph Rupp, and opened in 1976, a little more than a year before Rupp's death in late 1977. Since the 1985 Final Four, Rupp Arena has hosted a number of NCAA Tournament regional games, most recently in 2007. Rupp Arena is scheduled to host second and third round NCAA Tournament games in 2013. Rupp Arena is also home to Kentucky's high school boy's basketball Sweet Sixteen, a single elimination tournament which determines the state champion with sixteen teams representing each of Kentucky's regional high school champions.

Seating arrangement
The arena has an official capacity for basketball of 23,500, but has packed in well over 24,000 for many UK basketball games. This is possible because less than half of the seating (approx. 10,000) consists of chair-back seats, all of them in the lower seating bowl. The lower bowl also incorporates a student standing-room area called the "eRUPPtion Zone" behind one goal, which was named in 2002 by Andrew Acker from Lincolnton, NC. Acker won a student body contest where his submission was picked from nearly 200 when he was a Freshman at UK. One of the zone's most popular tenants is Kentucky native and UK alum Ashley Judd. The upper bowl is completely made up of bleachers that allot more space than chair-back seats. Unlike many arenas built in the following years, it has no luxury suites, and has never been renovated to add them. However, in 2001 the arena received some minor renovations including: four oversize video boards, new lower bowl seating, new locker rooms and a new court. The demand for UK basketball tickets is so overwhelming that adding suites would inevitably reduce the capacity and possibly lead to a fan backlash. Due to the success of the many great players, coaches, and teams of the University of Kentucky, Rupp Arena has the reputation as one of the most intimidating venues for opposing teams in college basketball.

  • The ceremonial first basket in the new facility was sunk by Adolph's young grandson Chip (Adolph III), who went on to play college basketball at Southeastern Conference (SEC) rival Vanderbilt.
  • Rupp staged three Southeastern Conference men's basketball tournaments between 1982 and 1993; it was also the host of the Ohio Valley Conference men's basketball tournament in 1992 and 1993.
  • It hosted WWE Backlash in 2006.
  • The Rupp Arena attendance record was set on January 2, 2010, when 24,479 people watched #3 Kentucky play rival Louisville. The final score was a 71-62 victory by the Kentucky Wildcats.
  • The UK men are the only basketball program in the SEC that plays home games in an off-campus facility. All of the other programs play on-campus, including the UK women, who play in the men's former home of Memorial Coliseum. However, when the women's program expects an unusually large crowd, it will shift an occasional game to Rupp; they notably upset then top-ranked Tennessee there on January 26, 2006.
  • Rupp is also home to the annual KHSAA State Basketball Championship, with teams from throughout the commonwealth appearing for a shot at the state title.
  • The University of Kentucky calls the arena home and boasts a home record of 460-60 (.885) since beginning play there in November 1976. (UK's first win in Rupp Arena was on November 27, 1976, vs. Wisconsin, and their most recent win was on March 1, 2011 vs. Vanderbilt.)
  • The University of Kentucky has led the nation 23 times in NCAA Men's home basketball attendance since the 1976-77 season (35 seasons), including 15 out of the last 16 seasons (and the last 6 seasons in a row). This is a national record.
  • On December 21, 2009, in Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Men's basketball team became the first college basketball program to win 2000 games, in an 88-44 win against the Drexel University Dragons.

NCAA Tournament games
  • 2007 First and Second Rounds
  • 2002 South Regional Final
  • 1998 First and Second Rounds
  • 1996 Southeast Regional Semi-finals and Final
  • 1994 First and Second Rounds
  • 1992 Southeast Regional Semi-finals and Final
  • 1989 Southeast Regional Semi-finals and Final
  • 1985 NCAA Final Four
  • 1984 Mideast Regional Semi-finals and Final
  • 1980 Mideast Regional Semi-finals and Final
  • 1977 Mideast Regional Semi-finals and Final

Attendance record progression
The Kentucky Wildcats have set or broken the Rupp Arena attendance record 24 times since the arena opened in 1976. In those games, the Wildcats have won 20 times and lost four times.

Attendance Date Kentucky opponent Result 23,266 November 27, 1976 Wisconsin Won 72”“64 23,271 January 12, 1977 Tennessee Lost 71”“67 (OT) 23,392 February 14, 1977 Florida Won 104”“78 23,412 February 26, 1977 Alabama Won 85”“70 23,472 November 26, 1977 SMU Won 110”“86 23,521 December 5, 1977 Indiana Won 78”“64 23,608 March 4, 1978 UNLV Won 92”“70 23,798 December 15, 1979 Indiana Won 69”“58 23,809 December 3, 1980 Ohio State Won 70”“64 23,875 December 13, 1980 Kansas Won 87”“73 24,011 March 1, 1981 LSU Won 73”“71 24,165 December 8, 1981 Indiana Won 85”“69 24,185 February 27, 1983 Tennessee Won 69”“61 24,203 December 7, 1985 Indiana Won 63”“58 24,288 January 14, 1989 LSU Lost 64”“62 24,301 February 15, 1990 LSU Won 100”“95 24,310 March 2, 1991 Auburn Won 114”“93 24,324 January 25, 1992 Arkansas Lost 105”“88 24,332 March 7, 1992 Tennessee Won 99”“88 24,340 December 23, 1995 Tennessee Won 89”“66 24,459 February 4, 2003 Florida Won 70”“55 24,465 February 10, 2007 Florida Lost 64”“61 24,468 December 5, 2009 North Carolina Won 68”“66 24,479 January 2, 2010 Louisville Won 71”“62


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Building Activity

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