The U of L Football Program and its fans have the privilege of spending more than a handful of autumn Saturday's competing and cheering in $63 million Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
The opening of the state-of-the-art facility in September of 1998 concluded a decade's worth of private fund-raising and commitment to the dream of giving Louisville an on-campus football stadium which is second to none in the nation.
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium allows an up-and-coming professional city become a college town on Saturdays every autumn as the Cardinals play host to a number of national-caliber opponents. The opening of the facility allowed U of L to play seven home games for the second time in 51 years during the 2000 campaign.
Fans are treated to a one-of-a-kind feature in PJCS with all 42,000 seats being of the chairback variety. No other university-owned and operated stadium in the nation can make that claim.
The structure, which sits on the south end of the metropolitan campus, is constructed with the ability for future expansion to more than 80,000 seats.
Along with the most modern press facilities, which accommodated five ESPN national television broadcasts over the last two seasons, PJCS holds the impressive Brown and Williamson Club. The B&W Club runs 100 yards in length and 20 yards in width and gives the stadium the ability to play host to a number of indoor banquets and parties.
A new and improved Cardinal Football Complex stands in the north end and provides student-athletes with a number of world-class facilities.
After initially installing SportGrass in PJCS, FieldTurf was installed prior to the 2003 season and is the current playing surface for UofL home games.
The stadium's multi-usage came into play in May of `99 as the George Strait Country Music Festival invaded PJCS and entertained more than 51,000 concert goers.
The PJCS pitch also played host to the 1999 World Cup Champion United States Women's Soccer Team as part of a trio of facilities to house the U.S. Cup.
Fans visiting PJCS also are safer in the stadium than they would be in their own homes should they encounter a medical emergency.
U of L's partnership with Jewish Hospital and the Frazier Rehab Center allows the University to have three fully staffed first aid stations along with a full trauma center located in the stadium. Should a fan need to be transported to a hospital, one of three paramedic-staffed ambulances will get them there.
With its state-of-the-art construction and fan-friendly environment, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is one of the finest in the nation.
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
In the highly competitive world of collegiate football, the off-field preparation of the student-athlete is one of the most important aspects in building a successful program on the field. At the University of Louisville, Cardinal football players are fortunate to train in a state-of-the-art facility at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Jason Veltkamp, Director of Strength and Conditioning, believes that solid training in the weight room can improve levels of performance, as well as reduce the chance of injury. Veltkamp's philosophy is to make strength and conditioning a 12-month job for the Cardinal football program.
At the University of Louisville, the Cardinal coaching staff believes that a strong strength and conditioning program is the cornerstone of building a championship product on the field. To accomplish this requires more than just strength and training in the weight room. Speed improvement, agility, flexibility, conditioning and nutrition are all critical roles in the development of the student-athlete.
The Cardinal staff places emphasis on all of these areas, with special focus on the improvement of speed. Veltkamp and his staff employ a wide variety of state-of-the-art training methods to assist in the speed development.
Located in the football complex, this facility has aesthetic appeal with large glass windows overlooking the Cardinal practice fields. U of L's weight room includes 8,500 square feet of floor space.
Cardinal football players train with the best equipment available, including 20,000 pounds of free weights, a full line of Hammer strength equipment, power rack stations, Olympic lifting platforms with Eleiko bumper plates and upper body pressing stations.
Source: Louisville University Sports Information Office
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ground was broken on Wednesday, June 19, 1996 for the 45,000-seat Papa John's Cardinal Stadium project at the new stadium site located on Floyd Street, adjacent to the University of Louisville's Belknap Campus.
"This is a wonderful day for the University of Louisville and the entire community," University President John Shumaker said. "It represents the culmination of an extraordinary year for the university community. It is great to see so many people from so many segments of our community here today to enjoy it with us."
A commemorative shovel was presented to those in attendance, and the crowd was estimated at 4,000.
The stadium will be the first on-campus football facility built at a Division I university in 13 years.
Among those in attendance at the groundbreaking were state and local government officials, university officials, corporate donors to the project and former U of L coaches and athletes. Over 4,000 fans pledged nearly $15 million for lifetime seating rights in the initial phase of the stadium fundraising effort in May of 1993.
"I'd like to extend our thanks to the fans," Athletic Director Bill Olsen said. "We have all shared this dream for a long time. I've thanked them many times, but I'm going to do it again. Thanks for staying the course."
Papa John's and founder/CEO John Schnatter committed $5 million to the project on May 16. Additional corporate donations total nearly $23 million to date, including a $3 million pledge from the Brown Foundation; major corporate contributions from Anheuser Busch, Bank One, Kiel Brothers Oil Inc./BP, UPS; and significant contributions from McDonald's, Pepsi Cola, Dr. Ben Reid, Kentucky Kingdom and the City of Louisville and Jefferson County. Additional gifts are still being sought to complete the football complex in the $56 million project.
The stadium is to be built on a nearly 100-acre site adjacent to the south end of the U of L campus, previously occupied by a railroad yard. The Cardinals plan to open their 1998 football season in the new facility, which will also accommodate soccer, concerts and a variety of other events.
"This means a whole lot," Head Coach Ron Cooper said. "This is good for our football program and good for the University of Louisville. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will match up with any facility in the nation; it will be second to none."
June 3, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
The University of Louisville says its investment in a new football stadium is already profiting. The stadium is bringing in new fans and it appears that Papa John's Stadium will turn a $1.6 million profit its first year. Profits of more than $2 million are predicted in the 1999-2000 season. The school says it plans to spend its new profits on improving womens' sports programs.
April 24, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville has received final approval from the state of Kentucky to move forward with the proposed expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, said Vice President for Athletics Tom Jurich.
Premium seat packages and suites in the new structure are currently being sold and additional gifts are still being sought to complete the $72 million project. While increasing the seating capacity to more than 60,000, the expansion will include 45 new luxury suites, a new south terrace, 2,000 premium loge seats and additional reserved seating.
The new east side loge section will offer outside seating and inside amenities. The six-row section is adjacent to a glass-enclosed lounge area with a private entrance, concessions, and restrooms under an overhang with fans and heaters to provide a comfortable climate. Also included are 45 new luxury suites, which feature 18 outside seats plus accommodations for 8-12 persons inside.
"We're very excited to get final approval from the State of Kentucky to move forward on our stadium expansion," said Jurich. "When this project is completed, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will be one of the finest stadiums in college football. We appreciate the response we've received from our fans and the donations we've received from our corporate partners."
Fundraising for the $72 million stadium expansion is ahead of schedule, which includes the lead gift from Papa John's and John and Annette Schnatter at $10 million.
Sun Tan City, an Elizabethtown, Ky., based company, has also made a $3 million donation, and in recognition of this gift, the formerly named red parking lot located adjacent to the stadium will be renamed the "Bronze lot".
Loge seat sales are nearing the 1,000 seat mark and nearly two-thirds of the 45 new football suites have already been committed.
"Fans are really excited about the premium loge seats being added, and our package combining these loge seats with premium basketball seats in the new downtown arena has really caught on," said Gary Friedman, Associate Athletic Director. "I anticipate, with this stadium approval, the sales momentum will increase even more and the urgency to get these seats will pick up considerably."
VENUES BRING LOUISVILLE MORE REVENUE THAN EXPECTED
February 3, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Louisville, Ky. - Revenue from the new KFC Yum! Center and an expanded Papa John's
Cardinal Stadium has exceeded the University of Louisville's projections by at least $2.6 million to date, but athletic department officials are cautioning that they won't have a clear handle on their bottom line until expenses are met, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
"You can't get too excited about the revenue number until you see all the expense numbers," athletic director Tom Jurich told the newspaper. "You always see the revenue first, and we're optimistic, but we know that some expenses with the facilities have increased, too."
In its original athletic budget, U of L had projected revenue of $64.4 million for the academic year. In an analysis based on Dec. 31 numbers presented to the U of L athletic association, senior associate athletic director Kevin Miller said U of L already is showing actual and committed revenue of $67.02 million.
Men's basketball had nearly pulled in its expected revenue total for the entire season before Big East Conference play even began.
Driving those numbers was a much better than expected performance in annual seat donations. U of L had projected revenue of $12.6 million off those donations for football and basketball combined. Instead, seat donations have brought in $17.1 million.
However, Miller also told the board that the department has encountered higher than expected costs in facilities and game management. And in working through the amount U of L must pay back to the arena authority, he said it's not yet clear how much of a surplus the department will show, though it does expect to come out ahead.
Last year U of L paid around $1 million in rent for Freedom Hall. At the new arena it pays roughly $60,000 per game in rent, plus a facility fee of $35,000 per game, plus separate license fees for suites, club seats, premium boxes and the Terrace Club, figured as a percentage of sales.
Last year U of L generated about $350,000 in revenue from game-day parking. This year the school is paying $750,000 for use of downtown lots near the arena.
How much the costs of added per-game fees and increased costs connected with stadium operations for games cut into expected revenues probably won't be clear until after the basketball season, Miller said.
The Courier Journal said football ticket sales brought in $476,912 more than projected, and the program is expected to show a small surplus on its $11 million budget after its disbursement from the Big East is received.
"We're trying to keep some perspective, because this year we have 23 home basketball games and seven home football games," Miller said. "Next year might be 21 and six. So we want to be careful to be ready to pay that debt service out of future revenue.
LOUISVILLE SEES REVENUE BOOST FROM VENUES
August 18, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Louisville, Ky. - With a new basketball arena and a newly expanded football stadium, the
University of Louisville figured it was in for an infusion of athletic revenue in the past year. But the Louisville Courier Journal said the actual amount was beyond what athletic department
officials termed as conservative projections made before the teams moved into the KFC Yum! Center and played in a bigger Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
U of L reported athletic revenue of $74.936 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year during a meeting of its athletic association. That was a $22.5 million increase over the previous year. It was $10.5 million more than projected and created a surplus of roughly $7 million, most of which will be designated to a contingency fund for debt payments on the football expansion.
"We did better than we expected," athletic director Tom Jurich said. "This year was magical. Charlie Strong brought so much in football, and Rick Pitino did the job of his life. But I think we still have some surprises ahead of us. I think we've got another full year of expenses before we really know how things are going to go."
Expenses on the facilities also ran higher than projections by about $3 million. And senior associate athletic director Kevin Miller said that having one fewer home football game this year was another reason to budget conservatively for 2011-12. The athletic association approved a budget of $68.8 million for the coming season.
The main added expense, and the primary reason that department officials warn against viewing the additional revenue as a windfall, is the money still owed to pay off the expansion.
"Our debt service escalates over the next few years," Miller said. "We're saving for that and building that contingency up. We don't want to budget all our revenue right now toward recurring expenses. We're being very cautious."
The main sources of revenue remain football, men's basketball and donations. The men's basketball program generated a record $24.765 million in 2010-11, with suite rentals at the new arena accounting for $5.7 million and ticket sales another $14 million.
Football, whose revenue had plummeted to $12.8 million in 2009, rose sharply to a school-record $21.5 million in the first season of the expanded 52,000-seat facility. U of L's previous high football revenue had been $19 million after its Orange Bowl season of 2006.
Overall, donations Ð most in the form of annual seat donations Ð were the main area that came in above projections, $4.6 million higher, and were the biggest pleasant surprise for school officials.
Miller said he doesn't have a precise football-basketball breakdown for the $17.2 million the department received in annual seat donations (the budget had projected $12.6 million), but he acknowledged that the returns from the KFC Yum! Center were well beyond expectations.