As you’ve probably heard by now, there’s been some drama over a fundraiser held by Waterfront Park to light the Big Four Bridge in downtown Louisville red or blue based on which fanbase donated more money, Louisville or Kentucky. Despite Kentucky having a substantial lead in donations when the poll closed at 4 p.m., the donation site mysteriously reopened fifteen minutes later and Louisville received two major donations ($1,000 and $625) to put them over the top. Shocker: the contest was rigged. Given the history of how things go down in that city, especially when it comes to things involving the University of Louisville, that shouldn’t be surprising. Besides, it’s a bridge, and who cares about a bridge, and it’s all for a good cause, whatever.
But it still bothers me. Here’s why.
On Thursday, I received an email from the events coordinator at Waterfront Park asking KSR to promote the contest. According to the person, the Waterfront Development Corporation was cut from the state budget so they came up with the fundraiser to generate some much-needed revenue for the park.
“We created a fun competition to see which fan base (UK/UL) could raise the most money to have the Big Four Bridge lights be blue or red for the basketball game,” the email read. “We would be so grateful if you could help us rally the BBN on your show and encourage them to make the Big Four Bridge the #BBNbridge and have it lit blue next week!”
The request seemed genuine, so we were happy to help out, although because I was in Vegas, I wasn’t able to “rally the BBN” on the site until yesterday. And rally we did. When I posted about the contest, Kentucky was down $150 in donations; six hours later, Kentucky was up almost $1,600. Hashtag KSR effect, right? If you checked the Louisville message boards, Cards fans were furious at the notion that their beloved bridge would be blue the night before and the night of the big game.
So, imagine my surprise a few hours later when Kentucky lost the contest despite being up over $1,000 when the polls closed. Again, it’s not surprising that the contest was rigged, but the fact that several readers of our website donated money to the contest believing it was legit when it actually was not makes this wrong. Waterfront Park essentially preyed on Kentucky fans and KSR to generate money, during the week before Christmas nonetheless.
Way to be a grinch, guys.