LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky is raising its men's basketball ticket prices as the team prepares to defend its national title.
The university announced in a news release Tuesday that it expects the increases to bring in $3.5 million in new revenue.
Per-game ticket prices will increase $5 for the 2012-2013 season, and annual donations for approximately 7,000 lower-level seats will go up ranging from an additional $50 to an additional $400. The $5,000 donation required for the best seats in Rupp Arena will remain unchanged.
The university says the complete home schedule for next season will feature nine games against Southeastern Conference opponents and a non-conference schedule that will bring Baylor to Lexington for a rematch of last season's Elite Eight.
The Kentucky Wildcats beat Kansas 67-59 to win the NCAA men's basketball championship last season. They finished 38-2 overall and were undefeated at home.
Citing a need to "offset our escalating costs," the University of Kentucky athletics department proposed and the school's Board of Trustees Athletics Committee approved Tuesday an increase in cost for Wildcats men's basketball tickets for 2012-13.
In a vote to pass a $91.9 million athletics budget for the next academic year - up from $87.9 million in 2011-12 - the committee also approved increases in K Fund donation requirements for season tickets and in the actual per-ticket prices. For season-ticket holders, prices will go up $5 per ticket, per game. Single-game ticket prices will increase by $7 per ticket in the upper level of Rupp Arena and $10 in the lower level.
In addition, 6,689 of the 7,081 seats requiring a K Fund donation for season tickets will now require an even greater donation. Those who had to give $5,000 per seat last season are the only ones unaffected - because their required donation spiked from $1,350 per seat a year ago.
But those who previously had to donate $1,500 per seat (1,332 seats) now must give $1,900. Those giving $1,000 per seat (845 seats) now must give $1,250. Those giving $700 per seat (3,784) now must give $850. And those giving $400 per seat (728 seats) now must give $450.
Adding in ticket-price increases - from $800 to $855 in the lower level and from $700 to $760 in the upper level - the overall hike for K Fund donors ranges from 6.88 percent to 19.78 percent.
The increases will provide an estimated $3.5 million in new revenue, which athletics director Mitch Barnhart said was necessary to cover raises for coaches, rapidly rising travel expenses and increased tuition costs for scholarship athletes.
Barnhart said the basketball increase is not related to UK football's declining season ticket sales, although he acknowledged "we're down" for a second straight summer and could see a further drop from last year. The ticket-price news came on the same day the athletics department announced it was increasing its giving to the university for academic scholarships from $1.7 million to $3 million.
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