|Location||432 West Vine Street|
Lexington, KY 40506
|Owner||Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government|
|Operator||Lexington Center Corporation|
|Capacity||20,545 (Basketball) |
|Broke ground||June 21, 1974|
|Opened||November 27, 1976|
|Construction cost||$55 million|
($241 million in 2020 dollars)
|General contractor||Huber, Hunt & Nichols|
|Kentucky Wildcats (NCAA) (1976–present)|
Kentucky Thoroughblades (AHL) (1996–2001)
Lexington Men O' War (ECHL) (2002–2003)
Lexington/Kentucky Horsemen (af2) (2008–2009)
Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center is an arena located in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, United States. Since its opening in 1976, it has been the centerpiece of Central Bank Center (formerly Lexington Center), a convention and shopping facility owned by an arm of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, which is located next to the Lexington Hyatt and Hilton hotels. Rupp Arena also serves as home court to the University of Kentucky men's basketball program, and is named after legendary former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp with an official capacity of 20,500. In 2015 and 2014, in Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team was second in the nation in college basketball home attendance. Rupp Arena also regularly hosts concerts, conventions and shows.
The arena's primary tenant is the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team, with the Kentucky Wildcats women's basketball team hosting rivalry and power program opponent games at the venue in recent years. Rupp Arena was the host of the 1985 NCAA Final Four, won in an upset by eighth-seeded Villanova. It also formerly hosted the Kentucky Thoroughblades (currently the San Jose Barracuda) (capacity 10,011) and the Lexington Men O' War (capacity 7,500) 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 20,500 approx.), conventions, and other events. It is named after University of Kentucky 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 2013 when it hosted second and third round NCAA Tournament games. Rupp Arena is also home to Kentucky's high school boys' basketball Sweet Sixteen, a single-elimination tournament which determines the state champion with sixteen teams representing each of Kentucky's regional high school champions.
On January 27, 2020, it was announced that Lexington Center's overall naming rights were sold to Central Bank, a local community bank, by the Lexington Center Corporation and JMI Sports, which handles the multimedia rights for both the LCC and the University of Kentucky. The Rupp name will continue to receive primacy in the fourteen-year agreement for the arena portion of the complex, and be known as "Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center". Floor signage indicating the new naming arrangement was installed on Rupp Arena's basketball floor in time for the 2020-21 season.
The arena has an official capacity for basketball of 20,545 following a 2019 renovation project that was part of a larger renovation and expansion of Lexington Center. The most significant change to the arena was the installation of chairback seats in about half of the upper seating bowl.
Before the 2019 renovation, the official capacity was 23,500, but because of the former all-bleacher configuration of the upper seating bowl, it was able to pack in more than 24,000 for many UK basketball games. The lower bowl also incorporates a student standing-room area called the "eRUPPtion Zone" behind one goal. 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 oversized video boards, new lower bowl seating, new locker rooms, and a new court.
Rupp Arena was approved for various renovations in 2015 to improve the fan experience and to attract more concerts and major events. The approved renovations totaled at $15.8 million that included a new center-hung scoreboard, advertising ribbon boards, wireless internet for fans, and improved roof infrastructure.
The entire list of renovations as stated on UK Athletics' website include:
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 4 times.
|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||Louisville||Won 89–66|
|24,459||February 4, 2003||Florida||Won 70–55|
|24,465||February 10, 2007||Florida||Lost 64–61|
|24,474||December 5, 2009||North Carolina||Won 68–66|
|24,480||January 2, 2010||Louisville||Won 71–62|