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New Louisville arena: successful first year

Louisville CardinalsWith 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.


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