After researching various market, Forbes blogger Darren Heitner has concluded that Louisville should be the next city to get an NBA franchise. Heitner cites the Yum Center and Louisville’s immediate availability to host an NBA team as his primary reasons:
The results of PWC’s investigation are not yet available, but there already exist clear signs that Louisville is ripe for an NBA team. Louisville contains an arena fit to host an NBA franchise. The KFC Yum! Center was completed in late 2010 and has been the home of the University of Louisville basketball team ever since. Many suggest that the arena is as nice (if not more pleasant) as many NBA facilities. It is also complimented by many 5-star hotels and highly rated restaurants in its vicinity. An arena needs to be filled with fans so that it is sufficiently utilized the maximum number of days throughout the year, and Louisville has proven itself as a basketball city. A professional basketball team would fill the numerous open dates in the KFC Yum! Center’s annual calendar of events.
But what about the sticky contract between the Louisville Arena Authority and the University of Louisville? Heitner argues that UofL and an NBA team have coexisted before when the Kentucky Colonels used Freedom Hall back in the ’70’s. Unfortunately, this is a different time and age, with a very different Louisville administration. As one individual told Heitner, “I think you are going to find that Louisville is the Stonewall Jackson of the status quo and the University of Louisville athletics’ stranglehold on the city is our local Bull Run.”
However, Heitner’s arguments for the pros of the NBA deal may be to much for Jurich to overcome. In addition to impressive attendance numbers across the state for basketball events, numerous people who have told Forbes that they would be interested in becoming minority owners. Heitner conducted a poll on Twitter to see which city should be at the top of the list for an NBA team and Louisville was the overwhelming choice, with 90% of the vote over Seattle, Virginia Beach and other competing cities. Add in the fact that the Yum Center desperately needs money and this is a no-brainer, right?