With the University of Louisville basketball teams setting attendance records and plenty of fans queuing up for concert tickets, KFC Yum! Center is poised to turn a profit in its first year open.
That basketball would benefit from a new downtown arena was a given, though the boost to the women’s program — attendance rose to 10,859 fans a game — was not totally expected, and neither was an amazing surge of $10.4 million into athletic-department coffers.
What was a surprise: the $16.6 million in revenues from touring shows and artists like Lady Gaga, Elton John and Justin Bieber. The shows were expected to do well, but according to the Louisville Courier-Journal the shows sold better than concerts in similar-sized markets; heck, even the Eagles managed to sell out. The numbers put KFC Yum! Center as the #10 concert venue in the country, and when the numbers come in management is expecting to turn a million-dollar profit for the arena’s first year.
Whether it can continue will depend on the talents of the bookers: you had a lot of high-profile/high-buck acts touring this past year, and it’s not every year you have a Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Elton John and Katy Perry on tour. But Louisville is now an established stop for big-name talent, which should help the arena’s bottom line considerably in coming years.
Sign up for the free weekly Arena Digest newsletter and keep up with the latest happenings! You can sign up here.