Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart wrote a letter to the Big Blue Nation introducing a fan initiative called BBN First on Monday afternoon. In the first phase of the initiative, fans are being asked submit suggestions for how to enhance their experiences by visiting a new website, http://bbnfirst.ukathletics.com/, or emailing BBNfirst@uky.edu.
Below is Barnhart’s complete letter.
As I rode with our men’s basketball team from the airport to the celebration of a remarkable NCAA Tournament run, I was reminded of the deep ties we share with our fans. I saw the blue you wore and the pride on your faces and couldn’t help but think about how important the Big Blue Nation is to all we do.
It’s a fact we have never forgotten, but it bears repeating: None of this is possible without you, the fans. Without you, none of us – student-athletes, coaches, staff – would be here.
With that in mind, I am asking everyone involved with UK Athletics to make a renewed commitment to our fans. We will honor those deep ties by making sure you have great experiences when you invest time and money to support your Wildcats. We are going to put you, the Big Blue Nation, first.
Three core concepts will guide this effort:
1. We will compete for championships and make our fans proud.
I am incredibly proud of the work our Wildcats have done to make Kentucky as strong overall as it has ever been, culminating in the first top-25 finish in national all-sports standings in school history. For them to do it while also excelling in both the classroom and the community is even more impressive.
Now, just as I am asking my staff to take the fan experience to the next level, I am challenging student-athletes and coaches to build on that solid foundation and work to be the best department in the country and to continue to do it the right way. That’s what the Big Blue Nation deserves.
We all share in this.
As a department, it is our job to give our teams the resources they need to compete for championships. With new and under-construction facilities across campus, I believe we are doing this. In all those venues, I ask you to help us create the best possible home-field advantage for all of our teams. I have seen and heard our fans be the difference in more games than I can count. We need you now more than ever.
2. We will provide a first-class game-day experience.
We know your experience on game day begins well before you enter the stadium. It starts when you are making plans to attend a game, continues when you are parking your car and doesn’t end until the moment you arrive at home. For that reason, we will be intentional and transparent in all we do, from our ticketing process to enhancing the action on the field with music, audio and video.
No matter the venue, we want to create an atmosphere that tells fans they are at a Kentucky event. We will strive to create memories for fans, not only through the action on the field but also through one-on-one interactions with each and every one of you.
3. We will create a shared family atmosphere.
From children experiencing their first UK event to students supporting their school to fans who have been attending games for decades, we will create an atmosphere everyone can share. In doing this, we will ask fans to take an ownership role in the game-day experience by observing good sportsmanship, interacting positively with fellow fans and helping to take care of our facilities.
We have the best fans in the world and that will shine through in all we do. We truly appreciate you, the members of the Big Blue Nation. We will demonstrate this appreciation by connecting you to Kentucky like never before, using technology to supplement the game-day experience before, during and after events.
Though we will strive to be on the cutting edge, we will never forget where we come from. We share an incredibly special history and tradition and will always honor what it means to wear a Kentucky uniform.
Guided by these concepts, I formed a Fan Experience Committee with staff members from event management, marketing, ticketing and communications as we began the new year. We are meeting regularly to assess all aspects of our fan experience, but we need your help.
We want to know how we can best serve you. We want to know what we can do to give you the game-day experience you deserve. We are already investigating and refining on our own, but we need your input.
What can we do better? What are we already doing well? What have you seen at other sporting events that we should implement?
No suggestion is too big and none too small. From concessions to promotions to music selection, we want to know what matters to you. We are going to use every outlet available to us to listen to your feedback.
• Visit our new website, www.BBNfirst.UKathletics.com, and submit your feedback.
• Email us at BBNfirst@uky.edu.
• Continue the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #BBNfirst and by visiting our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UKAthletics).
We are looking forward to hearing from you. Through our fan experience committee, we are taking a hard look at everything we do and your feedback will play an important role in this process.
We hope you notice improvements at the next UK event you attend, but BBN First is only just beginning.
‘Til the Battle Is Won,