LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The University of Kentucky-University of Louisville football rivalry has various annual traditions.
The Governor's Cup Luncheon.
The hanging of the billboards.
The annual ticket squabble.
We have now reached that third stage, with U of L putting out today that it has 2,060 tickets that UK returned (of its allotment of 5,500) for their season opener on Sunday, Sept. 2.
It's not surprising. If UK's season-ticket sales are down 27 percent (according to a recent Lexington Herald-Leader story), then the pool to sell those seats has shrunk by a quarter, and those tickets usually aren't offered to the general public.
Some UK fans, too, might well have bought tickets straight from the U of L ticket office, given that those seats, many of them, are available in the upper deck in the middle of the field, while the opposing team's section is usually along the north end zone.
Regardless, the return of that many tickets points to a couple of things:
1. The enthusiasm of UK fans for the coming season is soft. No big news there. UK fans have been laying off tickets for their own home games, so it's no surprise that they would take a pass on going to a game on the road.
2. The enthusiasm of UK fans for coming to games in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is decreasing. Gone are the days when they buy season tickets for good seats to that one game. And this seems to be the case on both sides. While U of L isn't returning any of its allotment for games in Commonwealth Stadium, I've encountered more and more U of L fans who have stopped going to Commonwealth because the atmosphere was less-than hospitable, and you can hear the same complaints from UK fans coming to Louisville. It's a shame for that to be the case, and hopefully, it's only the case for a small minority of fans, but it is something you hear.
Regardless, I expect the game will be sold out. U of L is offering the returned tickets to its own season-ticket holders.
Tickets will be made available only to UofL football season ticket holders for $50 each ($46 single-game season ticket rate plus $4 handling fee), with a maximum of four tickets to purchase per account. Season ticket holders can buy the tickets by logging into their "My Cardinal Account," which can be accessed through the UofL web site at www.UofLsports.com. (Or directly at this link.)
Tickets may also be purchased by UofL football season ticket holders by visiting either of the two UofL ticket offices, located near Gate 2 of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium adjacent to Floyd Street or on the third floor of the Swain Student Activities Center. No phone orders will be accepted.
Season tickets also remain on sale online by creating a "My Cardinal Account," or by contacting the UofL athletic ticket office at 502-852-5151 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Over 41,800 season tickets have been sold through Aug. 6.