What to know ahead of Big Blue Madness campout for tickets

Details have been released regarding Big Blue Madness, Kentucky’s annual celebration of the start of basketball season, as well as ticket distribution for the event.

Big Blue Madness will take place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14 inside Rupp Arena and will feature introductions of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, practice drills, videos and more.

Tickets for the event will be available at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows on Avenue of Champions on the UK campus, as well as online through Ticketmaster.

Tickets for the event are free, and all patrons require a ticket for the event, regardless of age.

This year marks a return of the Big Blue Madness campout for tickets, and key campout details were released Tuesday by UK.

Fans are asked to line up at Memorial Coliseum no earlier than 5 a.m. on Oct. 1, and advanced setups are not allowed.

The campout area will be limited to the following areas

The southeastern portion of the main entrance of Memorial Coliseum.

Along the east side of Memorial Coliseum and the Joe Craft Center.

Along the east entrance of the main entry way of the Craft Center.

A designated section of the College View Lot (between Wildcat Coal Lodge and Rose Street).

Among the other regulations in place for the return of the campout, which did not happen the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are the following:

Privately owned animals must be attended and restrained and, unless performing duties as a service animal or service animal in training, are not permitted in university buildings and structures.

The use of permanent, wooden-type structures, portable generators, and propane tanks or other combustible/open flames used in cooking/heating is prohibited.

Campers may not drive or drill stakes in the pavement to secure tents in the parking lot areas.

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not permitted.

UK said the athletics department will provide portable restroom facilities for the campout.

According to UK, once available space for fans has reached capacity around Memorial Coliseum, remaining fans will be directed to acquire tickets online through Ticketmaster.

Hundreds of Kentucky basketball fans wait to cross Avenue of Champions to set up tents outside Memorial Coliseum for the most recent Big Blue Madness campout in 2019. After a two-year hiatus, the tradition returns next month. Ryan C. Hermens

The last time the campout occurred in 2019, an estimated 300 tents were pitched on the sliver of campus around the Coliseum before UK started turning people away due to maximum capacity.

UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari tweeted over the summer about his desire for the campout to make a return.

“It is unacceptable to not have a campout,” Calipari tweeted in July. “It is part of what makes UK Basketball special. We have some great ideas on how, where and when that will make it tremendous. Unless there is some sort of road block, campout will return!”

Tents were set up in the areas surrounding Memorial Coliseum starting at 5 a.m. in 2018 on the University of Kentucky campus as part of the Big Blue Madness campout. Charles Bertram

Campout ticket distribution

As far as the actual ticket distribution process, a limited number of control cards will be issued to people camped out at 6 p.m. on Oct. 1.

All fans must be present to obtain their control card and wristband, and no more than four control cards will be distributed per tent.

Fans with control cards are encouraged to start lining up at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 2 for the ticket distribution.

A limit of two tickets per control card will be provided starting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 2 at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows. Only one control card per person will be accepted.

All patrons with a control card must be in line by 9 a.m. on Oct. 2.

For online orders there will a limit of two tickets per household.

More information on procedures for the Big Blue Madness campout can be found at

The UK Sports Network will have live video stream coverage of the Big Blue Madness campout from outside the Joe Craft Center and Wildcat Coal Lodge from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 1.

The live stream will air on and on the Kentucky men’s basketball Facebook page.

There will also be a watch party for the Kentucky at Ole Miss football game at noon on Oct. 1, a matchup that will mark the return of star running back Chris Rodriguez.

Campers will also get free admission to the 4 p.m. UK volleyball match inside Memorial Coliseum against Alabama, also on Oct. 1.

While supplies last, LaRosa’s will provide pizza Saturday evening and Coca-Cola products will be available to all campers throughout the weekend. Additionally, Screamin’ Mimi’s will be on-site with salsa samples during the UK at Ole Miss football game.

Beyond the campout, UK’s annual Blue-White Scrimmage, which is expected to be played in Pikeville this year, is tentatively planned for the week following Big Blue Madness.

UK will play two exhibition games after that before starting the regular season the week of Nov. 7.

The first major game on Kentucky’s schedule is the Champions Classic matchup with Michigan State, set for Nov. 15 in Indianapolis.

Cameron Drummond works as a sports reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focus on Kentucky men’s basketball recruiting and the UK men’s basketball team, horse racing, soccer and other sports in Central Kentucky. Drummond is a first-generation American who was born and raised in Texas, before graduating from Indiana University. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who previously worked as a community news reporter in Austin, Texas.

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