Good to get an update on stadium expansion plans in the most recent issue of the Louisville Sports Report (not on the Net for some reason), providing information on what to expectÂ at Papa John’s after the final home football game against West Virginia on Nov. 22.
Reading between the lines, it appears that the expansion plans may have been affected by the prolonged drama over the downtown arena financing plans. It would have been difficult to talk with prospective ticket buyers when financing for one project affects the other. That may partially explain why UofL was quiet about the stadium expansion for so long.
Gary Friedman, assistant athletic director for development, shared these gems:
- Construction will begin in early December.
- The first phase will include 13,000 seats, including between 33 and 39 luxury suites and a terrace at the south end of the stadium.
- The additional 13,000 seats will include the loge section, which will have 1,750 seats.
- Loge seating is being paired with club-level seats in the new downtown basketball arena.
- Approximately 75% of the additional seats have been sold.
- Stadium capacity will be 56,000 when construction is complete in 2010.
- A second phase will add sections to the both ends of the east and west sections in front of Schnellenberger Football Complex, increasing capacity to more than 60,000. No timeline avaiable for the second phase, but hopefully it doesn’t have to go through Frankfort.
Friedman also noted that UofL is close to announcing a couple of other major gifts to the expansion, in addition to those provided by Papa John’s, Sun Tan City and UPS.
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Great. the stadium expansion will include the terrace area, providing a browsing area between the east and west sides of the stadium. This will do wonders in retain hundreds, if not thousands, of casual fans in the stadium during and after halftime.
Short of locking the gates, serious UofL fans continuing face a major challenge in preventing casual-not-football-knowledgeable people from leaving before games have been decided. Why does that happen anyway? We’ll tackle that prickly issue in a future post.