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Kentucky Basketball staying in Rupp Arena: UK announces new lease agreement

NCAA Basketball: New Jersey Tech at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the University of Kentucky announced an agreement with the Lexington Center Corporation on a new 15-year lease at Rupp Arena.

The agreement ensures that the Kentucky Basketball remains at Rupp through the 2033 season. The current deal was previously set to expire in 2018, but this new agreement ensures UK will be playing basketball in Rupp for at least 15 more years.

“Rupp Arena has been the home of the Wildcats for four decades and we are proud we will remain there for the next 15 years,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “With the commitment the Lexington Center has shown through technological upgrades and other new amenities, we look forward to the fan experience at Rupp continuing to be outstanding.”

“The history and tradition of Rupp Arena are unmatched in college basketball. Our coaches, players and fans have created that history and tradition and we are all committed to adding to them in a venue located in the heart of our community.”

Officials with both LCC and UK said they expect final terms of the lease to be finalized in the coming months. Details of the agreement include:

·UK will lease Rupp Arena for men’s basketball games and select other events through 2033.

·LCC will make new capital investments of about $15 million in improvements to Rupp arena. That includes more chair back seats, new hospitality areas and other improvements.

·The university will control multi-media rights and the sale of souvenirs during games and have a greater role in concessions, catering and parking.

·LCC will receive a yearly lease payment from UK Athletics of $1.9 million for 28 events, an increase of about $900,000 from the current terms.

·UK to reimburse LCC $1,093,750 for previous design work.

·UK will receive revenues from the creation of four clubs and club spaces within the arena for use during games and other events.

·The name of Rupp Arena will not change.

“This letter of intent underscores our shared commitment to the health and vibrancy of downtown Lexington and the broader community we call home,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “It also demonstrates the strong partnership that exists between the university and the city of Lexington as we have worked collaboratively – and in a spirit of partnership – over the last several months toward an agreement that represents our shared interests and principles.”