Sure, it looks amazing. And the plans for the renovated Rupp Arena are sweet and already have the Louisville fans up in arms, but there is one big question concerning this project. Where is the money coming from? The project is now priced at upwards of $300M, which is more than 2.5 times the original estimate for the renovation. Which all begs the question … where is the money coming from?
We did learn a couple of tidbits Monday about the plans for financing a renovated Rupp Arena. Rice said that Tax Increment Financing — using the increase in tax revenue that occurs in the vicinity of a new venue to help pay off the project — would be part of the Rupp plan.
In Louisville, TIF has not yet come close to reaching the projections it was expected to produce toward helping pay off Yum Center bonds. “We will be careful, very, very careful, not to expect too much revenue too soon,” Rice said.
Meanwhile, even if naming rights are sold to help pay for the reinvented arena, Adolph Rupp’s surname would remain part of the venue’s name, Rice said.
Continuing what has seemed UK’s at-arms-distance stance toward the Rupp Arena project, neither Kentucky President Eli Capilouto nor Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart attended Monday’s news conference. DeWayne Peevy, a Barnhart assistant, was there.
Asked on an SEC teleconference Monday his opinion of the Rupp plans, John Calipari said he is not involved. “I’m anxiously awaiting to see how it all plays out,” the UK coach said. “There are good people on all sides trying to make a good thing happen.”
Alluding to the private money he raised to turn the UK locker room in Rupp into something of NBA-level plushness, Calipari said “We re-did the locker room. If the rest of the arena is done to the level of that, it’ll be one of the nicest in the world.”
We all saw what happened with Marcus Smart this weekend in Texas Tech and I’m not here to elaborate on either Smart or the fan. However, fan involvement at UK road games have been something of an issue in the Calipari era, From the alleged trampling of an alleged Playboy model in Indiana to the “Call me” incident in Starkville to a brief altercation in Arkansas this year, we know that opposing fans get riled up when the Cats come to play.
With the incident this weekend however, you would think the SEC league office would have some sage advice to dispense should things get salty on the road. Basically the league mandate is “Just ignore it” which is easier said than done when you have obnoxious fans in your face.
UK Coach John Calipari spoke of a simple rule by which players should view fans’ taunts or gestures.
“Just ignore them,” he said. “You know, just ignore them.”
Calipari expressed sympathy for Smart because of the condemnation that resulted from the shove. “Because I know he’s a good kid,” the UK coach said.
UK players are well aware that they should not interact with hostile fans, Calipari said. He noted that UK players, whose mere appearance in other arenas generally incites home fans, are accustomed to turning the other cheek. “We are in a hostile environment everywhere we go,” he said.
A series of photographs taken immediately after Kentucky lost at Arkansas last month showed a fan trying to engage Aaron Harrison. In the background, UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua had a look of concern on his face as he approached player and fan. Antigua escorted Harrison off the court.
“Aaron didn’t respond (to the fan), which was good,” Calipari said. “I like that.”
Like Stallings, Florida Coach Billy Donovan said his home-court fans could get consumed with heckling opponents. Or worse.
“There are going to be fans that spend more time dealing with opponents rather than cheering for their team,” he said. “That’s when a problem can (occur).”
You would think that the SEC Network is something that most local cable companies will be carrying in the SEC, right? Don’t assume. The UKAA released the picture above on their blog and IF the SEC Network was around this year, the games in yellow would be carried on the SEC Network. That is a lot of games to miss … especially the SEC Tournament. As of right now, a lot of the BBN is going to miss a lot of UK sports, so there needs to be a call to action:
In past years, UK games not picked up by national television have been aired on outlets like the UK IMG Network, Comcast Sports South, Fox Sports South and SEC TV. The new SEC Network is expected to replace all of these options, as you can see in the 2013-14 schedule below.
As many as 10 regular-season games, Big Blue Madness and both exhibitions this season would have been broadcast on the SEC Network had it launched in August 2013 rather than August 2014.
High-definition broadcasts with announcers intimately familiar with the SEC will enhance the watching experience for all of these games, provided fans have access to the SEC Network through their cable/satellite provider.
As of today, AT&T U-verse is the only national provider that has signed a deal to make the SEC Network available to its subscribers. If the SEC Network launched today, fans using major providers like DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner and Comcast would not be able to access it.
If you love Kentucky basketball and you want to make sure you’ll be able to watch every game, visitGetSECNetwork.com to tell your provider you want the SEC Network.