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A look inside: Explaining Rupp Arena attendance estimation procedures

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UK has led the nation in men's basketball attendance each of the past eight seasons. (Chet White, UK Athletics) UK has led the nation in men's basketball attendance each of the past eight seasons. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Over the coming months, Cat Scratches will be providing a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of UK Athletics with an exclusive mini-series. For the first installment, we explore how attendance is measured for each men's basketball game in Rupp Arena.

For eight straight seasons, Kentucky has led the nation in men's basketball attendance. In each of those seasons, an average of at least 22,000 packed Rupp Arena.

So how do UK officials determine the announced attendance for any given game?

It starts with the number of tickets distributed for each game, which includes season tickets, student tickets and single-game tickets. That number -- calculated around halftime - for the last six years has been then communicated to DeWayne Peevy, UK's deputy director of athletics and men's basketball administrator.

Working in conjunction with the primary media contact, Associate Director of Media Relations John Hayden, and event manager, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Event Operations and Championships Kevin Saal, Peevy estimates attendance by combining the amount of tickets distributed with the more than 1,000 credentialed attendees at each game. That number includes players, coaches, band members, cheerleaders, dance team members, staff, media and workers.

No NCAA guidelines are in place for calculating attendance, but most of UK's peers use tickets distributed when determining estimated attendance.

Playing a very limited role in UK's process is the actual amount of tickets scanned at entry.

The primary reason for scanning at entry is to ensure event security and that each patron has a valid ticket for the game, but many attendees are not counted in this process. Rupp Arena officials also use scan counts to determine when fans arrive for the purposes of stocking concessions and staffing the venue.

Because scan counts do not provide an accurate picture of how many are actually in attendance, UK does not record these counts from past games.

To provide an example, let's inspect how UK arrived at the estimated attendance for its last home game vs. Eastern Michigan. For that game, there were 21,721 total season, student and single-game tickets distributed. Adding in an estimated 1,000 credentialed attendees in Rupp, the attendance was announced as 22,721.

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