Campus News

UK Football Awarded Thursday Night Home Game in 2015; Working Group Formed to Prepare

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — The announcement Tuesday that the University of Kentucky Wildcats will host a Thursday night SEC football game next year offers the opportunity to place UK in a national spotlight.

UK will play Auburn at the newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium the evening of Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015. Next season will be the first played after the completion of a $120 million renovation of Commonwealth, meaning an ESPN audience will be exposed to the dramatic transformation of the longtime home of the Wildcats as well as UK’s budding football program under head coach Mark Stoops.

But along with the opportunities come challenges associated with the game — from the logistics of parking to working with Keeneland, area hotels and other venues on maximizing exposure for Lexington and convenience for both fans and visitors. Against that backdrop, UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart Tuesday announced the formation of a broad-based working group to address opportunities and issues associated with UK’s first Thursday night game at Commonwealth Stadium next October.

“This is a tremendous honor and opportunity for Lexington and the University of Kentucky,” Monday said. “But while maximizing the opportunities associated with the game, we also want to ensure that the event goes as smoothly as possible for everyone — both on our campus and in the community.”

“We can’t wait to showcase UK for the nation,” Barnhart said of the game next year. “Thanks to President Capilouto's leadership, we've initiated an unprecedented campus transformation, which as positioned us for success. And Thanks to Mark, his staff and our student-athletes, our program is making incredible strides. This game presents the opportunity for us to take another step forward. We are excited to partner as a campus and community to make sure we spotlight Kentucky football, our university and Central Kentucky in the best way possible.”

“This is an important chance for us to show work we have been doing and the progress we are making as a football program and as a university to the nation,” Stoops said. “I want to thank Eric, Mitch and everyone who will be involved in preparing to make our Thursday night game as much of a success as I know it will be.”

The working group, which will begin meeting this week and continue on a regular basis over the next year, includes representatives from UK’s finance and administration areas, university relations, athletics, police and emergency management, among others. The group will address issues ranging from parking logistics and security.

A website — — has been created. There, interested fans and others will, over time, be able to easily access information about the game, logistics and event opportunities.

“This game is a tremendous opportunity for UK. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our community and region,” Monday said. “But that means starting work now to make sure we think of and address the natural questions and challenges that will arise, while also making sure we take full advantage of a national spotlight.”

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