LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2016) –The Lexington Center Corporation (LCC) and the University of Kentucky have agreed in principle to a new 15-year lease at Rupp Arena. The new lease will begin at the expiration of the existing lease.
The agreement, outlined in a letter of intent signed this week by LCC and UK officials, will ensure that the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team plays at Rupp through the 2033 season. The current lease expires at the end of the 2018 season.
Officials with both LCC and UK said they expect final terms of the lease to be hammered out in the coming months.
“This agreement extends the viability of Rupp Arena and ensures its vitality for almost 60 years,” said LCC Board Chairman Brent Rice. “As we celebrate Lexington Center’s and Rupp Arena’s 40th anniversary, this commitment from UK stretches that vital contribution to the city and the state well into the future.”
“Great news for Lexington and the Big Blue Nation. And congratulations to the Lexington Center Board,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “With some of the enhancements considered in 2013 already in place–technology improvements, ribbon boards and a new center hung scoreboard–we are now moving forward with more chair back seats, new hospitality areas and other improvements. The history and pride of UK Basketball will be played in a reinvented Rupp. It’s a win for the city because of the jobs it will bring downtown; and for UK because the arena will set a new standard by enhancing the fan experience.”
“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.”
“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.”
Details of the letter of intent include:
- UK will lease Rupp Arena for men’s basketball games and select other events through 2033.
- 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.
- LCC will make new capital investments of about $15 million in improvements to Rupp arena.
- The name of Rupp Arena will not change.
“The history and tradition of Rupp Arena are unmatched in college basketball,” Barnhart said. “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.”