Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Louisville arena authority wants to re-negotiate lease agreement

As I referenced to earlier, the current lease agreement between UofL and the Yum Center has been a roadblock for Kentucky in scheduling a regular season game in downtown Louisville. Due to the current financial struggles of the Yum Center, the Arena Authority hopes to re-negotiate the agreement with Tom Jurich. Currently, the “agreement” calls for UofL to receive 88% of suite profits, even at non-UofL events.

One simple solution to the Chicken Bucket’s financial troubles would be to lure an NBA team, but it’s believed that Jurich would not be willing to move women’s basketball and volleyball games out of the Yum Center in order to accommodate an NBA schedule. Another simple stream of revenue would be to schedule an annual Kentucky game, or even a bi-annual game against Indiana, if Jurich would ever alow it.

Courier Journal reporter Marcus Green recently wrote two articles on the topic, one in March and another earlier this month, and below are a few exerpts concerning a “study” conducted by the Arena Authority.

Overall, adding more concerts during the basketball season could lead to $500,000 more in revenue, while more efficient staffing could save at least $600,000 a year, the report found.

The study focused on arena operations but not other areas that could affect the revenue available for paying off debt.

Authority member Todd Blue, who said after the meeting that he was resigning from the board because his primary business is now in Texas, argued during a lengthy discussion of the operations review that the revenue split with U of L is not favorable.

Previously, Blue has proposed changes to the authority’s agreements with the university to produce more revenue.

“This building is an incredible revenue generator – one of the most unique in the country, which we should all celebrate – and I just would like at some point to really look at the swath of that top-line dollar amount,” said Blue, a Louisville businessman and developer.

“Those millions of dollars are going to U of L,” Blue said after the meeting. “And I’m just saying: Why is that not on the table to talk about?”

In the March article, former Arena Authority member Todd Blue and UofL spokesman Mark Hebert adressed the issue:

“I don’t feel remotely apologetic to ask U of L to participate in good community stewardship and work with us to reconfigure the agreement,” Blue said, noting the university’s bolstered athletics budget at a time when the arena authority is “barely covering” expenses.
U of L spokesman Mark Hebert did not directly address Blue’s proposal in a statement.

“The University of Louisville will always do what is in the best interests of the university and our community,” he said. “Perhaps more than anyone, we want the downtown arena to be successful and we’re doing our part to make it a success.”

This will all be something to keep an eye on if the contract is re-negotiated to allow more concerts and other events in the Yum Center during basketball season, and possibly even allow Kentucky to play an annual regular season game in downtown Louisville. But I highly doubt Tom Jurich has any plans to change the current deal. Other than wanting to do the right thing for the community, why should he?

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

28 Comments for Louisville arena authority wants to re-negotiate lease agreement

  1. #9n2013
    8:40 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    You have posted 5 of the last 6 stories, go do something.

  2. Ilini Cat
    8:45 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Who paid the majority of the bill for the Yum center?

  3. crackerhillbilly
    8:49 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Under the “stewardship” of James Ramsey, UofL has forgotten they are a member of the community and a state university. The most recent debacle with University Hospital and Catholic Healthcare Initiatives was laughable as UofL tried to argue the hospital they operate was not a public entity based on some “paper veil” entities. Institutional control is also laughable based on the multiple incidents of misuse of funds to Pitino/Sypher-gate (I have no doubt Tom Jurich would have found a way to keep Bobby Petrino). Does any sane person think there is any chance UofL will voluntarily do the right thing for the good of the arena and the community? Not a chance.

  4. crackerhillbilly
    8:50 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    2 – the taxpayers, not UofL……and we will be paying for decades.

  5. tyrus
    8:57 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Luring an NBA franchise is not a financial solution. Average NBA ticket price is about $50. Average yearly houshold income of for Greater Louisville is $35K. It ain’t going to happen.

  6. UK Homer
    8:58 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    What a bunch of self-serving entitled folks. Then again, can you expect anything different from the school of Ricky 3 Stacks.

  7. tyrus
    9:02 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Oh BTW, Jim Host is the kiss of death for projects. He stands around during the planning stages of major projects stating to the press, this will generate millions of dollars of extra revenue. When it ends up a flop, Host just shruggs he shoulders and goes oh well.

  8. Hal
    9:06 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    tom jurich and women’s b-ball are no where near the main reasons why louisville doesn’t have an NBA team. if anything the nba needs to drop a team.
    iu ain’t adding uofl unless they cant get ku and the current uk series is discontinued.
    the arena needs more non-athletic events (concerts). have they had any other than eagles, biebs, gaga & katy perry?

  9. Art Vandalay
    9:19 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t it more embarassing if the chicken hut has to shut down for financial reasons than if UK plays there a few times a year?

    The new owners might now offer uofl such favorable lease terms and they would certianly have leverage during said negotiating process.

  10. Isaac in San Fran
    9:26 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    if/when the bucket gets shut down, whoever purchases it should turn it into a giant theater that shows nothing but kentucky games.

  11. Parker
    9:28 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    1- you must be new to the site(which is okay) but on slow news days like Sundays or during the summer one writer writes most of the posts for his day. Today is Wilmhoff’s, tomorrow might be Tyler Thompson’s day. Its just a rotation

  12. E Cat
    9:40 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    We need the YUM Center and downtown Louisville to be successful for the entire state. That said, I’m surprised UofL got that much power as this was being put together. Look, there are many better options for revenue than UofL volleyball games. No offense to them, but you have to find more revenue generating events that will draw crowds. After seeing the NCAA tourney there this March, Louisville would be wise to try to get the SEC Tourney.

    I still think if done right, it can be a great investment for the entire state.

    The city was lucky to get that as A) a lot of the leg work was done prior to the economic crash; and B) Fletcher was trying to get the Louisville vote prior to re-election and wanted to make a financial splash in the area.

  13. Skeptical
    10:02 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    “This building is an incredible revenue generator – one of the most unique in the country.” What makes it so unique?

  14. Usernametaken
    10:19 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    More concerts might be tough. There aren’t many acts these days that can keep a 20,000+ seat stadium filled throughout the year.

  15. John Ellis
    10:26 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    “The interests of our university and the community”. Note what is first. The contracts should have been written with the taxpayer in mind. To give Pitino, excuse me, UL control – and the huge lion’s share of profits – off the arena when UL only uses it for less than twenty BB games (the other sports aren’t going to make money) is really foolish. Who was at the switch when this control was signed, who so poorly represented the interests of the people of the state? A monument to Pitino’s ego, UK will never be allowed there other than every other year to play UL. He’s lost the rest of the state completely, it’s all he’s got left.

  16. John Ellis
    10:26 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Oh, Fletcher. That figures. I wonder what his cut was.

  17. E
    10:33 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Seems like it would be great if we could get a few NBA games in the yum center. We aren’t going to support an NBA team for 40 homes games, but if we got 5 neutral site games a year I bet they would sell. I’d go to a Bulls Heat game at the yum center.

  18. BigBlue
    11:02 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky tax payers paid for it and UL is the main benefactor…ugh

  19. Biggass Hungguy
    11:19 pm April 22, 2012 Permalink

    #5 great logic since Oklahoma City does it not problem.

  20. JohnnyRed
    12:32 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    18. Really? The real “ugh” comes from the fact that about 75% of the state taxes paid by Louisville residents is spent in parts of the state which are NOT Louisville. I suggest not getting into an argument about who benefits from whose taxes.

  21. BigBlue
    12:46 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    State tax dollars should not build an arena for UL to play basketball and call “theirs

  22. BigBlue
    12:48 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    UK should play their whenever they want…

  23. Elmo
    4:16 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    Bring the damn NBA. The city should break the lease and tell UofL to eff themselves. Send em back to Freedom Hall.

  24. CATS
    9:35 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    20.) But the point is that the city of Louisville or even the state is not benefiting from the arena. UL and the city are two completely different entities. The arena was built from tax dollars funded from the state and the city of Louisville, but UL is taking 80% of box profits when they only have 20 games there, while dictating what and when events can take place.

    If the city was making a huge ass profit then your comment would make sense, but they are not. An entity (UL) is taking everything at the expense of the arena that was provided to them, instead of practicing good stewardship and working to keep the arena running that was gifted to them. In that case everyone benefits, while the taxpayers do not lose their asses and UL runs scott free.

  25. Dolfan66r
    9:51 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    The deal that was struck with UL and the city on this areana is nothing short of criminal. The Charlotte Hornets were ready to sign on the dotted line to move to Louisville and share a new arena to be built with UL. At the last minute UL backed out and bluffed the city into thinking they were going to build their own arena somewhere near campus. The city got scared and the Charlotte owner signed with New Orleans the next day. That would have been a guaranteed 41 home dates for the city and downtown businesses not to mention the tax revenue from the players. What if Louisville were to have drafted some of the UK stars over the years and developed a great following. UL doesnt care about the very people who support their endeavors the most. They blackmailed the city and the city didnt call their bluff.

  26. Megan
    11:13 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    How the holy hell did the Louisville taxpayers pay for it and then give most of the earning power to UofL? That is insane. This is the type of mess that happens when business gets too complicated and the smartest guys in the room straight up steal right in front of you. The taxpayers should revolt. (I’m originally from Louisville, but am no longer living there, so I can’t personally)

  27. Megan
    11:15 am April 23, 2012 Permalink – those people are dumber then my dog that would willingly eat enough bacon to kill herself.

  28. Carl
    11:23 am April 23, 2012 Permalink

    Jim Host and the arena authority got what they deserved. They allowed UL to dictate all the terms and fudged revenue projections to get the arena built, now they are crying because it is not meeting phony projections. Make your bed and sleep in it fools !!