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PriceWaterhouseCooper report concludes Louisville lacks enough corporate support for NBA team

YUM! Center

Louisville is not capable of supporting an NBA team, according to a PriceWaterhouseCooper report addressing the potential viability of a Louisville-based NBA franchise. Why? A lack of corporate support. The report, which explores Louisville’s strengths and weaknesses as a potential NBA city, says that a lack of corporate depth could be the city’s Achilles’ Heel, as there are only around 10 publicly traded companies large enough to buy enough suites and boxes (by comparison, points out that nearby Cincinnati has 25 corporations that size):

“Limited corporate base — a local NBA team would likely need a disproportionately higher level of support per company given the relative lack of corporate depth available in the Louisville market. Feedback from a sample of the corporate market, however, suggests that despite a common desire for a NBA team to serve as a catalyst for community development, there is a general lack of available support for a NBA team, including those local companies who have demonstrated a propensity for such investments; current private suite and premium box holders at the KFC Yum! Center.”

Not helping matters is the UofL’s situation with the Yum Center. Because the program has a stronghold over the Yum Center lease, corporate sponsorships would be split between the NBA team and Louisville athletics:

“A NBA franchise in Louisville would likely shift existing corporate funds rather than expand the base of support available within the community for sport and entertainment in at least the short-term.”

It isn’t all bad news. PriceWaterhouseCooper also mentions Louisville’s strengths as a potential NBA city: a modern arena, a well-established basketball fan base, above average support of existing sport and entertainment in the market, the absence of other major professional sports, and the availability of a proximate resident base available outside the immediate market.

While many argue that an NBA team would bring more corporations to Louisville, right now, the city doesn’t have a corporate base capable of supporting the team, which may prevent it from ever happening.

[PriceWaterhouseCooper report: NBA would likely take support from U of L in a market lacking sufficient corporate depth]

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.

43 Comments for PriceWaterhouseCooper report concludes Louisville lacks enough corporate support for NBA team

  1. UKBlue
    2:17 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    They really need to start preparing for a bankruptcy filing. Since Jurich serves at the pleasure of the governor, and Jurich can’t seem to stop poking Mayor Fisher with a stick; if Jurich doesn’t renegotiate the contract, the politicians are going to throw Jurich & UL President Ramsey under the bus & then run them both over with that bus.

  2. UKDMD
    2:17 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    That’s alright. We’ve got an nba team in Kentucky already. They play at Rupp arena.

  3. UKstew
    2:20 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    @1 Good file it, we would get the exclusive rights to buy it. Win, win situation.

  4. Job Seeker
    2:27 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t say I disagree with the findings. Finding a nice corporate job in Louisville is a pain in the Stallings.

  5. Greg
    2:29 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Sad that we have a basketball crazy state and no NBA team full of UK and U of L alumni.

  6. Real UK Fan
    2:32 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    What NBA team would want to play in a dump like louisville. Yes they have a new arena but playing in a city is more than just having an arena. Remember, the players usually live in the city at least during the season. No one in their right mind would wish living in louisvile on any one.

  7. Jerry Jones
    2:33 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    The Thunder are thriving in Oklahoma City. Louisville and Oklahoma city are virtually identical in terms of Metropolitan Gross Product.

  8. Steve
    2:38 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    7. Exactly and they have an NBA team already and we are still one ahead of them. UofL is so fuqing selfish with that stadium and it’s going to do nothing but go bankrupt. I hope the university will be proud once sheet of plywood are covering those big beautiful windows.

  9. Big Blue 66
    2:39 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    7. let OKC miss a couple of playoffs and that arena would be empty. Memphis is barely holding on and they have a great team and Memphis is really close to Louisville in terms of corp money and size (population that can afford a ticket). Theres 15 other cities probably better, St. Louis and Cincy being 2 of them. In fact, University of Cincy should try to do what memphis did, share the arena with a pro team and have a great place to play while the community gets a pro team

  10. Bogus
    2:40 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I’m not sure about this report. Look at Oklahoma City. I’d imagine Oklahoma City is comparative to Louisville and OKC has a great (and profitable) team with a lot of corporate sponsors. The report also seems to overlook local law firms, banks, and other non-publically traded businesses providing support. And the final decision is not that Lousiville can’t support one; it’s that an NBA would shift corporate support from other sports venues. Now, let’s think who currently benefits the most from corporate support in Louisiville. Of course, it’s the River Bats. Oh, wait. No, the UofL Cardinals benefit the most. So, in reading between the lines, the report actually concludes that Louisville could host a successful NBA team (although there may be some better cities) but it would hurt UofL.

  11. Greg Hale
    2:48 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    IMO an NBA team in Louisville would fail miserably. This is a college basketball state and the only way to succeed would be to pull from current UofL/UK support. Just quit giving so much of the Yum money to UofL to help financially there and let’s keep this rivalry at the top of college sports.

  12. Loserville=ghetto
    2:59 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    #4& #6 you all are cracking me up. #BestCommentsOnHere

  13. Mr. Art Vandelay
    2:59 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t see louisville capable of supporting a team. Oklahoma has no college basketball teams with the support shown to both UK and UL, not to mention WKU, Morehead, Murray,etc. An NBA team would be detracting from these fan bases, which in my opinion could not happen on a consistent enough basis to fully support a professional team. I realize fans ticket money is a small part of the equation financially, but if a team can’t fill their seats, who would want to sponsor them?

  14. Jurich is the Mafia
    3:03 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    So what was the point of building the chicken bucket?

  15. UKBlue
    3:16 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Neither UL or the city will end up owning the Yum Center once it files bankruptcy; the contract will become nearly worthless in bankruptcy court. Some big Real estate firm or hedge fund will buy the bonds on discount, collect the insurance on the bonds once it files bankruptcy, and will end up getting the Yum Center on discount. Neither the city or UL will even get a chance to get the Yum Center.

    The same type of financing structure used to build the Yum Center was also done to build the new baseball stadium in Miami, and now the SEC is investigating for financial fraud against the tax payers of Miami & bondholders.

  16. Teachable Mo'
    3:17 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Louisville is the nicest, largely middle class city in the country. Sure, it isn’t San Francisco or Boston, but there’s not a comparable city anywhere near its size.

  17. NoJortsNoProblm
    3:36 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I miss @MulletCat and his master.

  18. BNClay
    3:38 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Bottom line: It takes corporate money for just about anything to happen in this country.

  19. rick
    3:42 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    16, Don’t see anything special about Louisville. If not for the Derby you got nothing.

  20. Where's Louisville?
    3:52 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    19, got to agree. I ran into a guy the other day and he had a “Louisville” shirt on so I asked him where is Louisville. He replied, “I don’t know. I got this at a yard sale in their ‘Places that don’t exist’ section.”

  21. CentrePointe
    4:01 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Which would you rather have, a beautiful arena rapidly approaching bankruptcy or a nice grassy field on Main Street, Lexington? Personally, I just miss The Dame.

  22. Tim
    4:03 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Sacramento and OKC….neither have that many corporate sponsors either…case closed

  23. Sponsor
    4:04 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    What crown roayal and glock and build a beard workshop wouldn’t sponsor for the chicken shack. I think it’s time to move the derby to Keeneland and sell the ghetto to indiana

  24. Steve
    4:08 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    You all are dumbasses. Do you have any idea how good an NBA team would be for the economy of not only louisville but the state in general. That is 40 more nights a year that money is being spent all over the city and state in bars, restaurants, etc. for fans supporting the team. Which in turn would create more jobs, for new businesses popping up, which in turn would produces more tax monies for everyone. Get a clue and quite being so naive. Kentucky is right on the edge of becoming a really great state and a professional sport would do us wonders for our reputation across the country. Hell if we could turn the team into a respectable one then Kentucky would be the MECCA of Basketball(not just college) in the world. We would be the ground zero of all things basketball.

  25. GetAGrip
    4:18 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    24, reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, is it? There is almost nobody here arguing that an NBA team wouldn’t be good for Louisville and the state. People are simply echoing the findings of the report, that Louisville probably couldn’t sustain a team.

  26. What
    4:19 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    25, What in the name of Christ are you trying to say?

  27. GetAGrip
    4:20 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Steve (aka #24), take it easy man. Nobody is saying that an NBA team would be bad for Louisville, just echoing the findings of the report that said they probably couldn’t sustain a team. Learn to read and then come back and fire off some insults at people.

  28. Steve
    5:00 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    GetAGrip (aka #25,27) Hey douche bag, I was referring to the posters who were claiming that the only reason we couldn’t support an NBA team was because we were a college basketball state. Go f*** yourself before you come at me again.

  29. RC
    5:17 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I actually believe an NBA team would be detrimental to the city. It would pull money away from UK and UofL, plus the Bats, Churchill Downs, etc. Louisville isn’t big enough for an NBA team.

    OKC was given a successful team from Day 1 in the Sonics. That move was all about money. Louisville would likely get a crappy team (think: Bobcats, Magic, Raptors) and struggle on the court. If you don’t win you don’t make money and any relocated team- or expansion team- is going to struggle. OCK was the exception not the rule.

    If you want to see what a crappy NBA team looks like in a smallish city, look at Charlotte. Do some research on the lack of impact that the Bobcats have had in downtown Charlotte. Think about the total failure of the Bobcats on the court. That’s what the NBA would look like in Louisville. No thank you.

  30. Paul
    5:20 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I like how the comparison to Cinci leaves out that Cinci supports two major Athletics programs (Xavier and UC) and the Reds (81 home games) and the Bengals. So, 4 programs compared to 1 and 25 corporate sponsors compared to 10… ratios seem to be okay.

  31. UKBlue1!
    5:20 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    UK’s largest alumni base is in the city of Louisville. I love the idiots that get on here and bash it. I am a UK grad and I live in louisville. If it weren’t for the tax revenue that comes from Louisville the state wouldn’t function. This is a fact! Sad state is the city residents are screwed by the Lt. Governor’s deal he made while he was the Mayor of Louisville. The local politicians are going to have hell to pay once the reality of arena hits home in 2 years.

  32. Loser
    5:24 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    20, failed attempt at humor

  33. Josh in Oklahoma
    5:31 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    OKC has more corporate sponsors than you think. Almost all of the suites are bought by oil/natural gas companies, hospitals, or mega-casinos. Not household names, but big bucks. OKC and Louisville are similar in temperament and support (being college football crazy down here). Winning helps sell the upper level seats, obviously. Louisville could pull off the corporate suits with Yum! and UPS taking the bulk, and hospitals and others taking the rest. The wildcard is UofL not allowing the arena to sell itself for other venues. NBA is Louisville could easily happen, Jurich just won’t let it.

  34. BobbyMo
    5:40 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Ha #24, This year the Mecca of college basketball lost in the first round of the NIT. And I didnt realize Lexington had such a large Islamic population.

  35. Unboltedharp
    5:44 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Anybody remember the Kentucky Colonels? Attendance was terrible. Granted this was years ago, but if you would not go to Cheetum Hall, why go to the chicken pit? Jerkish is screwing the city and tax payers with this arena deal. The sooner it goes bankrupt the better off we’ll all be. Does anyone know if he ever unloaded the golf course? That’s a money pit loserville was stuck with thanks to jerk. Maybe that’s why he needed such a sweet deal for the chicken pit to save his sorry &ss.

  36. UKnation
    6:01 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I sat in a chamber of commerce meeting before New Orleans got their team when it was down between them and Louisville and the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce thought they had no chance because Louisville had three times as many corporate investors… I believe this report is a big pile of crap!

  37. Big Blue
    6:17 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Not enough fan support for the Colonels back then — even with several UK stars on the team and Hubie Brown coaching……since then nothing has changed except NBA owners’ increased greed and players’ salaries. The state/UL can’t afford the Yum Center today….even with sticking us state taxpayers with some of the bill AND they won’t even let UK use it.
    L-ville can suck it for all I care!

  38. Fred
    6:32 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Lol @ 22…did he just use Sacremento as a reason for Louisville? The team has almost left the city like 15 times. It’s hilarious how all these small town Louisville people act like they deserve a team. Move if you want to live in a real city.

  39. Wildcatsteeler
    6:38 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    This city should have aggressively pursued this 20 years ago. Instead it invested in “the arts.” Was a huge mistake and has stalled the cities growth while cities nearby took off. Now getting a professional team is infinitely more competitive. The fan base is there and with companies like UPS, Ford, Kroger and a huge healthcare industry it could still be done. But like always they’ll drop the ball again.

  40. RahRah
    7:21 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Wonder how much Jurich paid for this report? His stench is all over it.

  41. Bob the Replier
    7:26 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    It would hurt UofL attendance just like the OKC Thunder have cut OU’s attendance in half.

  42. Dennis Smith
    7:35 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    A similar study in the 90’s showed that even Cincinnati cannot support an NBA team. God knows the Kings were originally the Royals. It didn’t work then in Cincy and it won’t work now. These studies are the reason there has not been a single private venture to establish a team in the Tri State region. Big buck investors are not about to lose their money. But that won’t stop those in a position to profit from a franchise to use any means available to campaign for one. Of course (we should all understand by now) any new franchise will need to be underwriter by the electorate in order to guarantee the profits. Which will mean higher taxes for everybody. But hell with educating the voters on this matter and hell with the costs they will incur. The reason this matter will not die is simply because there are many who want a team, have a bully pulpit, and no sense fairness.

  43. I wonder
    7:49 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Did the city or U of Smell pay for this? As long as Smell controls the Scum Center dates with men’s / women’s b-ball and volleyball plus practice dates no one else can get in. I hope when Jurich retires the CJ will finally have the nads to do a full blown investigation into how he was able to run roughshod over EVERYONE in Louisville government and why everyone is scared sheetless of him! Including the entire media in the “Vile!”