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Forbes concludes Louisville the top choice for NBA team

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?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

64 Comments for Forbes concludes Louisville the top choice for NBA team

  1. UK Fan
    10:55 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Forget the financial side of things. If the new team has any Louisville players on it…I’m not going! If it’s colors have any red in it…I’m not going! If it’s name is “Louisville anything”…I’m not going! Let’s get our priorities right here.

  2. bbn
    11:02 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

  3. Chris
    11:05 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I will go wearing my wine and gold when my Cavs play there.

  4. UK fan in Louisville
    11:06 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #1 – you won’t be missed. Louisville is a great town full of great UK fans – more than anywhere in the state. Last thing we need is a hateful hillbilly like you.

  5. LETSfinallyWIN
    11:06 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I hope that Louisville gets it. It would be nice to go to an NBA game close to home. I have a son that would love to go and watch his favorite NBA players, but it always comes down to it being too far of a drive to Atlanta or Indianapolis. I hope they (we) get it. Just because UofL plays there should be no factor in supporting an NBA franchise in KY.

  6. wildcat
    11:06 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    1. u of l could stop the progress the city wants to make this state has the money to have an nba team the reason we did not have one back in the early 2000’s was we as a state did not have an arena now we do.

    2. the team if or when the nba does come will be playing for the WHOLE state of kentucky that has already been stated and rumored colors will be blue and white.

  7. Cokely
    11:09 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I’m pretty much with 1 on this one. I’m not fond of a team being called Louisville anything. It may seem selfish but I believe it needs to be called Kentucky (fill in mascot name). Not because I am a UK fan but because that way the entire state can get behind it. Which is needed because filling an NBA stadium for 82 games is no tall task especially when they will probably be a bad team to begin with at least.

  8. UKBlue
    11:11 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    UL Yum Center Contract:

    UL pays about 10 percent of all admission receipts less taxes, or a minimum of $10,000 per game, according to the original lease. The typical ticket revenue not including luxury suites would be a minimum of $500,000, so UL would keep at least $450,000, or 90 percent per game times 24 dates for the 2011/2012 men’s season.

    For women’s games and other non-revenue producing sports, U of L pays the arena authority 5 percent of ticket receipts, or at least $5,000 per game fee.

    From the audited financial statement completed by BKD CPAs and Advisors:

    Annual lease payments were equal to the greater of 10 percent of gross ticket sales or a minimum lease amount of $5,000 per game and annual
    lease payments for private suites are 9.75 percent of the first $35,000 of gross rental income
    and 25 percent thereafter. Total lease expense during the years ended June 30, 2011 and
    2010 amounted to approximately $55,000 and $1,493,000, respectively.

    UL gets 88 percent of net private suite revenue, according to the contract. UL keeps all the money from premium seating and side-court VIP seating, according to the lease. UL also keeps 50 percent of concession sales. The university pays no rent or fee for either Ramsey’s luxury suite, or the suite of Athletic Director Tom Jurich.

    The suites injected more than $11 million into U of L Athletics’ operating budget for 2011.

  9. LETSfinallyWIN
    11:12 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    7. I think it would be called Kentucky. If not, it wouldn’t be that big of deal to me. I still know that Louisville is located in Kentucky and an NBA team is not associated with the college team. Pitino doesn’t send players to the NBA anymore, so you won’t have to worry about cheering for any of his players.

  10. UK Fan
    11:14 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #4 you obviously don’t recognize a joke when you see one. Lighten up and keep your derogatory, hateful comments about others you know nothing about to yourself. BTW, I live in Louisville too.

  11. UKBlue
    11:17 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    An NBA team hasn’t moved to Louisville for the same reason why they will never come to Louisville & why it took UL so long to get invited to a new conference: Louisville is too small of a market especially TV market. It would be a financial disaster for an NBA team to come to Louisville. Give it up people, it’s never going to happen.

  12. Cokely
    11:17 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t support them. I would be psyched for that opportunity. Just having the name Louisville would irk me a little. The Louisville players wouldn’t matter as much as Heaven forbid a Duke player.

  13. Cokely
    11:20 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Could you all imagine being like the pacers and having 2 hansbroughs and a plumlee?

  14. HicksPickSix
    11:21 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    11 – You’re absolutely wrong, and appear to be relying on some Corey Nichols logic. This area will provide a decent enough market pull.

  15. Lame-o
    11:22 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Oh GAWD!!! Now we will have to endure a horrendous procedure of naming the new team and all the people with a complete lack of imagination will come out of the woodwork and come up with something to do with a horse or bourbon or coal. How about the “Louisville” or “Kentucky” “Methmouth”???

  16. UK Fan
    11:22 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #13–the owners would be too smart to allow that to happen. They know that would be financial suicide.

  17. SeattleCat
    11:27 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    No way Louisville gets a team before Seattle. Bigger market and a black eye for the nba. We were robbed for our team.

  18. Raylan Givens
    11:30 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I hope the name would be Kentucky Colonels like the good ol days. Our colors should be red, white and blue so it combines both UK and UofL. Plus its the same colors of Amuuuurrrica. F Yeah

  19. Han
    11:31 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    How about the Kentucky Kings? Unfortunately most if not all teams use the city name.

  20. Lame-o
    11:33 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I’d be all for the Colonels.

  21. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    11:36 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Simply put, the UL / chicken bucket contract is a scam on the people of Kentucky. It is wealth redistribution; in the end people all over the state will end up funneling their tax money to keep it afloat.

  22. SeattleCat
    11:36 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    19. Golden State, Utah, Indiana, and Minnesota i believe are the only ones that are not city names.

  23. nba2lou
    11:37 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I am one of the guys working with nba2lou to help promote this locally. We have more highlights from the article and a reaction by J. Bruce Miller on our site.

  24. Pat
    11:41 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    What about this study from last month? How long would the team last? I don’t have a side on this. Just looking for opinions..

  25. JLivermore
    11:41 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I love the city of Louisville, but it does not strike me as an NBA town. I think it would do well as long as the team is competitive, but I do not think the city would provide the type of support needed to get a franchise through lean years. It is a shame that the Colonels could not come up with the $1 million needed to join the NBA in the ’70s. That would have been a much cheaper experiment.

  26. HicksPickSix
    11:46 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    25 – Louisville is much more of an NBA town than Indianapolis, Sacramento, Memphis and Toronto ever thought of being.

  27. UKBlue
    11:47 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #14 I’m absolutely wrong because you say so, you’re a genius; apparently you have never had an economics or finance class. Louisville can’t support the Yum Center, 4th Street Live or KY Kingdom to either make profit or stay in business; an NBA Team WILL NEVER come to Louisville. Facts are still facts even if you don’t like reality.

  28. UKBlue1!
    11:48 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    The Shady politicians have fixed it so no NBA team can move into the arena. UL has priority rights on everything related to money/scheduling. It will take the city council realizing that the city is going bankrupt before anything will be done about attracting a NBA team. This won’t happen for another 3-5 years when astronomical debt starts piling up and it will be too late.

  29. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:52 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    An NBA team in the state would be great for both basketball fans and the local economy. I’d venture to say it would be tantamount to the situation in OKC where the players love playing based on the overwhelming fan support. I think this is one venture that both UK and UL fans could easily come together on.

  30. nba2lou
    11:54 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #24: The Forbes piece addresses the validity of that study. In addition to what Forbes says, it is likely a study funded by a group connected to UofL athletics.

  31. Fan, Y'all
    11:55 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    ***Insert more of the same comments over and over and over again here***

  32. Smitty
    11:56 am December 19, 2012 Permalink

    27 – Never is a looooooooong time. If you took never and I took that it would happen between now and the end of time, I would take that bet.

  33. Lame-o
    12:00 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    As a Lexingtonian (sp???)(horrible word) who was born and raised here, graduated from UK, I do know that Louisville has a WAY better shot at supporting an NBA team than Lexington does. Not much makes it here unless you’re a chain restaurant or a big box store. /surprised the minor league team is still here.

  34. Lame-o
    12:09 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Welp. KSR must have put up a new post. All the ADHD tards have left this thread. LOOK!!!! A bunny rabbit!!!!!

  35. Dee
    12:13 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    SOmeone please explain to me….why this ISN’T a GOOD IDEA?????

  36. Dee
    12:14 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    explain=GOOD REASON……(cause Louisville sucks does not meet the correct criteria)

  37. blueneck
    12:20 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Why would Louisville be more attractive than Seattle (much bigger city, no competition from college team), Cincy (much bigger city), Nashville (much bigger)? Has anyone noticed that Charlotte, who is in the middle of a basketball state, is failing with it’s pro team for the second time around?

    Just because basketball is popular in KY doesn’t override basic economics. People and businesses only have so much money to spend. More discretionary spending money doesn’t just show up because an NBA team does – especially if that team is bad. Look at the Pacers after Palace Brawl, they were practically giving tickets away and people weren’t showing up – and IN loves basketball as much as KY does.

    Did no one notice what the attendance was when UK played in Freedom Hall last year? The attendance at the Pros vs Villans game was also underwhelming.

    For the non NBA fans, here’s what most of you fail to notice….small market teams don’t thrive in the NBA. Most all the perennial losers are small market teams (NO, CLE, SAC, TOR) whose markets are much bigger than KY. The only chance small market teams have to succeed is be great at drafting, and they will get plenty of high picks. Look at Spurs and Thunder, they have become good by drafting awesome (and getting lucky in drafts). But they get no good free agents to come to them – they only lose them. Other small market teams, even someone like Cleveland drafting LeBron was good for a short time, but they can’t keep big names and you don’t see any stars going there.

  38. blueneck
    12:24 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Also, name me another town where NBA and top college basketball co-exist? Someone mentioned OKC but they don’t have college basketball.

  39. Lame-o
    12:27 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    As an NBA hater who regularly drinks hateraid, and despises the NBA and thinks it’s boring and would rather watch paint dry and who wouldn’t pay a quarter to watch an NBA game, let alone in person……uh……I hope Louisville doesn’t get an NBA team. Why pay when you can go to the local playground and see the same damn thing???

  40. Joe
    12:30 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Louisville needs to be very careful. As the articles point out, NBA owners, tend to demand lotsa offsets/perks/breaks to locate in a city (Personally, I think they are wrong to be asked or given) and Louisville is no different. If Louisville isn’t careful they’ll have TWO free-loaders making money off the taxpayers, not just one.

    Having TWO tenants that make money, but don’t contribute to the mortgage doesn’t make the YUM Center more profitable or sustainable. So if you do get an NBA team, make sure they are going to pay their way, as it relates to the YUM Ctr. at least.

    Lastly, why NBA in Louisville? What TV market will it draw or penetrate? That’s where you make your money TV, not butts in the seat. Who is going to watch the Kentucky Rednecks/Colonels who isn’t already watching the NBA? Simply scavenging other teams fans isn’t making the NBA any money.

  41. Al's IndiCats
    12:32 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    27, Indy and Oklahoma are small markets, even though I have no dog in this fight but had the city of Indianapolis had not held a marathon for the Pacers back in the late 70’s they would be gone. I feel this could be just the leverage the city of Louisville could have in renegotiating a new contract with Uvel if Jurrich puts up a tizzy fit.
    The Tax payers are going to have starting flipping the bill of the Yum after the first of the year because of the way the contract was written. Now I don’t know about you all but if I were a tax payer in Jefferson County and a UK fan, this would totally piss me off to no end. Because we all know Uvel alum can make only minimum wage at best!

  42. blueneck
    12:32 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Do people realize that the Big 12 selected freaking West Virginia for their market over Louisville? And another reason ol’ Tom Jurich wouldn’t let it happen is he now has the women’s basketball team thriving they would get sent packing back to Freedom Hall. Do people not notice that many business franchises have also been slow to move to Louisville. Eight years ago I remember eating at a P.F. Changs in Omaha of all places, wondering why Louisville still did not have one.

    And it’s not like Louisville is this fast growing city. The majority of the population increase over the last ten years is from internationals (often refugees) who need a place to live and the city has a program to bring them in – not exactly your economy driving demographic.

  43. UKBlue
    12:37 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #32 Write it Down: NEVER !! No NBA owner is going to be dumb enough to risk his business/asset long term on a city like Louisville with Louisville economic demographics.

    The scary thing, the idiots in Louisville government have no plan to stop or avoid the financial disaster that the YUM Center is going to create for Louisville & then for the taxpayers of the state of KY. Chasing the NBA on a pipe dream that’s never going to happen isn’t a plan.

  44. UKBlue
    12:46 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #41 Indy is a bigger city than Louisville with a bigger TV market. OKC has the energy industry jobs ie. oil, refineries, & natural gas industry (and it’s only getting bigger) to support an NBA team. Hell, their arena is named after Chesapeake natural gas.

  45. Chicago Chris
    12:50 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Just call them the “Kentucky (something)” and not the “Louisville (something)” and you might get some state-wide buy in.

  46. blueneck
    12:51 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #41 not sure what leverage Jurich would have since the current contract all favors UL – it seems they have the leverage.

    People forget the costs of having an NBA team. Obviously it would effect UL’s deal or they are not coming plain and simple the NBA will not be second fiddle. The city would likely be expected to pay for their multi million dollar practice facility. Of course the new NBA owner will want a couple of the luxury boxes for all events – taking some of the arena revenue away.

    If you read the linked article it cites things such “low income” as one of the reasons KY could not support a team. I’d say that’s a big reason.

    The biggest thing people forget is that an NBA team would have to leave a city (a bigger one) to come to KY. They are only doing so if they get every favorable term. Heck other cities have built new arenas and still had their teams leave. What’s to say they would stay here? The other thing is unless an NBA owner has ties to KY he is probably going elsewhere. The only reason OKC got the Thunder is cause their new owner wanted out of Seattle – after saying he would stay while purchasing them.

  47. Scott in DC
    1:03 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    That would be awesome……but if it happens, they have to be the Kentucky Colonels and bring back the old uni’s……then sign Boogie…he grows an Artis Gilmore Afro and sideburns and all would be right in the world.

  48. Computer Blue
    1:12 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Since the taxpayers have already been hoodwinked into financing Yum it really makes no sense to not have an NBA team and reduce the tax burden at this point.

  49. Assman
    1:16 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    The NBA is boring basketball. The only time the players seem excited is during the playoffs. The novelty of an NBA team would wear off quickly when they’re not winning. Good example is the Louisville Bats. Once the novelty of having a new stadium and the team started losing the attendance has really dropped off. Who wants to pay big prices for tickets to an NBA game and watch a losing team. Louisville is not a big league town and never will be. I can’t believe Cincinnati wouldn’t be a better choice for an NBA franchise since they had one years ago. They know how to do things right in Cincy, just look at their downtown area. They’ve proven they can support big league sports.

  50. nba2lou
    1:17 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Bring the NBA to Louisville consists of UofL, UK, IU, WKU, EKU, BU fans etc, this CAN be the region’s team. It is going to be interesting to see what happens SHOULD an NBA team become interested in bringing a team here. UofL ranks No. 1 in basketball profitability yet playing in a financially struggling arena? Perception like it or not is that UofL is making a ton of money while the taxpayers are going to foot the bill.

    Bring the NBA to Louisville

  51. Brad
    1:23 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    This will never happen because Jurich and UL will never renegotiate their lease agreement which will allow for an NBA team to play there…UL gets the YUM center according to their agreement day before and day after games for both Women and Men bball…Leaves no room for anything else thus the reason it is not making revenue for the majority of the year. And oh by the way, if YUM defaults UL has right to purchase it at fraction of cost there by defrauding the state tax payers in this scheme that was set up from the beginning with those Arena authority crooks that arranged this under the table deal with UL/Jurich. UL and Jurich will do what is best for them not the state or the city.

    1:28 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    If UofL, not UK had 20 former players in the NBA there would be a team there by now.

  53. Fur eel
    1:34 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I’d go to a few games a year if it happens just like I go to a few reds and bengals games. I’d like to know what kind of cable deal there would be for us in lex.

  54. Lewke
    1:58 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Would love to see this happen but am doubtful because Jurich and the UL athletic department do not care one iota about the city of Louisville or the state of Kentucky.

  55. JohnnyRed
    2:42 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I totally understand the arguments for and against an NBA team coming to Louisville, and would only say that reasonable minds can differ. However – WOW – it is unbelievable how narrow minded some UK fans are when it comes to the name of the team should an NBA team ever locate here. Would you seriously make a conscious decision to not support the team because it was the “Louisville ___________” versus the “Kentucky ___________”?

    You do realize that the team would have no connection to the University of Louisville, right? Or are you too stupid to understand that aspect?

  56. JohnnyRed
    2:45 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #47 – difference is, Artis Gilmore had class.

  57. 13th. Grade
    3:04 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    #1 seriously? As far as I’m concerned, they can call them Louisville and make their colors red & black. Who cares? It’s an NBA team! I’m guessing you hate the state bird of Kentucky as well. HINT: It’s not the wildcat. PS. I’m a UK fan/grad.

  58. Evan Partin
    3:24 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I can’t believe some of y’all. I said this the other day that I bet there would be a ton of ignorant fans that wouldn’t support the team strictly because it was located in Louisville, called the Louisville whatevers & some are even going as far to say you wouldn’t support them if the team colors aren’t blue & white. Some people are just the worst. I live in Lexington & it would be awesome to have an NBA team in our state.

  59. paducahfan
    3:40 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I realize that this is ancient history, but I used to attend a lot of Colonels games in the 70s and they were a blast. AND there were a couple of years when they were the best team in pro basketball.

  60. LETSfinallyWIN
    4:42 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    NFL games have a much better atmosphere than college games (at least compared to UK games). I would assume that NBA (a winning franchise) would be a pretty good atmosphere. As

  61. capitalcatfan
    6:39 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    Regarding a couple of the comments here: Louisville’s metro population is larger than OKC’s (I believe it’s the 42nd or 43rd ranked TV market), and there are 41 home games per season, not 82; and if I’m not mistaken Kentucky Kings won’t work unless Sacramento is willing to sell their team name. It’s really sad that Louisville couldn’t come up with the wherewithal to purchase the Seattle franchise when it was available, they’d have a team that reached the finals last year and seem to be poised to do the same this season. Although it would be difficult to verify, I believe along with many others that as long as Ricky P is U of L’s coach, the Yum! Center will be his to do with as he pleases. Sad…..

  62. SevenT
    8:05 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I can’t imagine why ANYONE who is a basketball fan would not want to see this happen. The State Government should do anything and everything to get a team.

  63. crackerhillbilly
    8:16 pm December 19, 2012 Permalink

    I’m a long time Louisville resident and longer time member of the BBN. I’m also an accountant and consultant who helps companies select cities for various business enterprises. Afraid Louisville does not possess the corporate base or disposable personal income to successfully support an NBA team over the long haul. And sadly, the trend is negative compared to other markets. Local government is also too weak to make a difference (other than to give away the store to out-of-state developers – pay attention to that Kentucky if a certain Lt. Gov. wants to run for the big job). UofL will also maintain a stranglehold on the arena (Ramsey is way smarter than local or state elected “officials”). Those who say otherwise about NBA success in Louisville are trying to make it work against reality. Sorry.

  64. Where is Jim Host? KSR should try and get him on to explain the crazy contract that was given to UL that will insure that the YUM center never makes money for the city or state. There will never be a NBA team that will come because of the contract the city and state gave UL. If nothing else try to get King from the city counsel (the banking expert?) to explain how the city would sign off on such a deal.