Jim Host deservedly gets the lion’s share of credit for the construction of the University of Louisville’s brand new KFC Yum Center basketball home. But Dan Ulmer, former chairman of the old Citizens Fidelity Bank & Trust Company, played a key role in obtaining the $13.5 million naming rights.

Ulmer, a co-owner of the Louisville Bats Triple A baseball franchise and a member of the Louisville Arena Authority, owns a house in Florida located near Yum executive David Novak’s vacation home. The two often ran into each other on a golf course, and the arena was a topic of frequent discussion.

Louisville was apparently fortunate in obtaining the naming rights at a time when corporate naming rights deals have been drying up. Such glamorous venues as the new Dallas Cowboys stadium and the New Meadowlands facility in New Jersey are without corporate sponsorships.

Portfolio.com includes a good in-depth story on the Yum negotiations here.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.