Thursday night football at UK could happen

Kentucky has never played a Thursday night game at Commonwealth Stadium. However, for the first time, at least one UK official is saying that could eventually be a possibility.

Kentucky will play at South Carolina a nationally televised Thursday night game on ESPN this October at South Carolina.

Rob Mullens, UK's deputy director of athletics, won't say it is "impossible" for Kentucky to host a Thursday game. "There are a lot of logistical challenges with it, mostly around parking. A fair amount of our game day parking is also parking for our university, medical students and even commuter students at night. But I would not say it is impossible for us to have a Thursday night game," Mullens said.

"It is a neat atmosphere. The ratings are high, but when you have a Thursday night game on your campus it brings a special emotion and spirit to it. It is different and unique. Students get into it and fans love it. We will keep in our sights. There are lots of challenges with doing it, but with the right planning and right parties on board, we would keep in a discussion stage and possibly make it happen."

Mullens said the key would be to make sure fans are able to have an enjoyable experience.

"The last thing we want to do is have a Thursday night game and have fans snarled in traffic and parking be a nightmare," Mullens said. "We are only going to do it if we can execute it the right way like our fans are accustomed. Parking is the real issue. If we can find a solution to that, it would be a unique experience."

And think what it could do for recruiting. Much like the past Kentucky-Louisville games that have been played on Sunday night, a Thursday night game draws a national audience because it usually is the only game being played.

"You get that huge TV exposure with a Thursday night game," Mullens said. "Thursday night is a smaller version of ESPN GameDay. Everybody who loves football is tuned in to that. People who get a chance to be there, it creates a special atmosphere."

Mullens hopes the eight home games Kentucky does have this season will create a special atmosphere. He's expecting an increase in ticket sales based on the UK's 8-5 record in 2006, including the Music City Bowl that attracted over 50,000 Big Blue fans.

Kentucky can sell between 48,000 and 49,000 season tickets. In past years, the number has been around 40,000.

"I would expect an increase in sales. There have been folks waiting to see what happened and now say our football is going in the right direction and they want to be on board," Mullens said.

He thinks there is a chance UK could sell its entire allotment of season tickets based on early responses. Mullens says fans can go to UK's website or call the ticket office now to get on a list now to have season ticket information mailed in the next couple of weeks.

"I wouldn't wait because we've had a lot of people calling about tickets," he said. What a nice problem for UK football to have.

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