Rupp Arena hosts UK season opener Wednesday night, first major event in several months
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After a long several months, the seats at Rupp Arena were filled again today. With new restrictions, the Central Bank Center looked practically empty.
The Cats claimed victory over the Morehead State Eagles, and we talked with fans who said the Rupp Arena staff was successful with the COVID-19 regulations, too.
A basketball season during COVID-19 means ample parking and light traffic at Rupp Arena. Entrances were blocked off and warnings posted by the door, fans’ phones were scanned for contactless entry.
“A very different vibe altogether,” UK fan Barbara Sallin said.
Temperatures were taken before heading into the arena. Spectators said overall, Wildcat fans kept their masks on through every exciting minute of the game.
“It was good. We weren’t concerned at all. Everyone was spaced out pretty good,” Scott Steinhauer said.
Even with all the excitement, only a soft roar came from the stands.
“We’ve been going to games the past few years now, and being in there is like a weird atmosphere. It’s super quiet and not a lot of people,” Ben Mattingly said.
Hungry guests were disappointed.
“We went there expecting hot dogs, we went up to the concession stand, they said nah, it’s closed so it was not good,” Mattingly said.
Some fans argued stands could’ve remained open with socially distanced lines and the spaced out seating, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, they said they were grateful to attend games again.
Without a crowd, Coach Calipari’s voice bounced off the walls.
“Move it down the floor. Hustle. He yelled at some players, called out their names on purpose, when they missed a free throw or something,” Steinhauer said.
“We could hear him. He was definitely yelling out there, it was pretty funny,” Mattingly said.
A quieter, highly-sanitized Big Blue Nation looking forward to the next matchup.
If you’re planning on attending a Kentucky game this season, make sure your cell phone is fully charged for ticket entry. Also, don’t forget only clear bags or small clutch purses are allowed.
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