The Olivia Dunne Experience arrived at the Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, on Friday night, and outside of a few fans with signs (including a student asking, «Livvy, will you marry me?»), she didn’t feel exactly like the highest-paid college athlete and social media superstar was in the building.
It was a completely different scene inside Rupp, compared to a week ago in Salt Lake City, where the 20-year-old Dunne received treatment typically reserved for the likes of Harry Styles, the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber. Things were so crazy in Utah that Dunne had to tell fans it was time to relax a bit and go back to being gymnastics fans, or at least tone down the brothers a bit.
«I will always appreciate and love your support, but if you come to a meeting, I want to ask you to be respectful of the other gymnasts and the gymnastics community as we are just doing our job,» the TikTok star said. she tweeted on Sunday.
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The message came through loud and clear in Kentucky, where the school’s gymnastics team was celebrating opening night, called Excite Night by these places, and the Dunne brothers kept things under control.
As was the case last week, Dunne, who is said to have been paid $2.5 million in NIL money, was not in the lineup due to a labral injury.
Analyzing Olivia Dunne’s experience
It was my job on Friday night to go to Lexington to find out exactly what the scene is like when a TikTok star with 6.7 million followers comes to town. Is that the stupidest use of resources?
OutKick’s Department of Culture has a duty to be the eyes and ears of what’s going on in this country and that means you have to go into the belly of the beast to see if the Utah experience was an outlier or if it will be the norm. for Dunne in 2023.
LSU’S OLIVIA DUNNE URGES FANS TO BE ‘RESPECTFUL’ AFTER CLAIMS OF MEET SURFACE INCIDENTS
The Tigers will face road trips to Arkansas, Auburn and Alabama. It was announced this week that the team will have extra security on those trips to handle crowds, but if Kentucky is any indication of what’s to come, things appear to be back under control.
Let’s get down to the basics of Lexington:
• Ticket price: $8 for general admission; $10 for reserved seats
• The 6 pm start time is absolutely brilliant and appreciated. Give the person who runs this show a raise.
• Were there fans of Dunne?: Yes. No doubt. There’s brother Dunne’s hair. You can see it a mile away. Long ahead. It doesn’t look like he’s washed all week.
• Was it an overwhelming performance from Dunne’s fans? Not at all. So well behaved. Livvy should probably release a video congratulating her fans for not causing another scene.
LSU GYMNASTICS ADDS EXTRA SECURITY FOR ROAD ENCOUNTERS AFTER OLIVIA DUNNE FANS CAUSE TROUBLE
• The announced crowd size on Friday night was 10,000. Were there TikTok fans in the stands drawn to the event because Dunne was there? Yes. Is that bad for gymnastics? Absolutely not. You do not believe me? See the response from the UK gymnasts below, who were lifted up by the huge crowd.
• With Dunne sidelined with injury, the event was reduced to real gymnastics, with fans enjoying high-level action. «Kentucky drew the crowd tonight,» Isabella Magnelli, a junior from the UK, said after her team’s win over the No. 10-ranked Tigers. «We’ve never seen anything like this. They lit up Rupp. My team and I are so excited to come here and show Kentucky what we’ve done all spring training. It was just amazing.»
• Speaking of never seeing anything like this, try being a gym newbie who had no idea DJs had been brought in to keep the party going for two hours straight. There were fireworks during the presentation. T-shirts were thrown into the crowd. There was a handstand contest between girls brought in from the crowd. There were high table areas for the VIPs. There was a WWE-like stage setup for the UK gymnast’s entrance.
• By the way, what about the soft serve at Rupp Arena? Folks, it’s soft serve ice cream. Does he have special healing powers?
This is just one of the lines for ice cream. There were three or four more lines like this around Rupp. It was crazy
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• What’s next for the Olivia Dunne Experience? LSU’s home opener is Monday in Baton Rouge against Oklahoma.