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Louisville football’s attendance sees massive drop, right when $63.25 million stadium expansion finishes

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

This past year, the Louisville football program began construction on a 10,000-seat addition to the 55,000-seat Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium with a hefty price tag of $63.25 million.

Former athletic director Tom Jurich made the decision for the bigger and brighter stadium renovation, but according to the latest release by WDRB news, the University of Louisville is going to be regretting that decision for a long time.

In WDRB’s report, the Louisville football program saw a dramatic drop in average attendance, even with Heisman-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson behind center.

Officially, Louisville’s average per-game attendance fell to 46,160 in 2017, from 54,065 in 2016.

But those “announced” figures don’t tell the whole story. They are merely estimates, according to athletics department spokesman Kenny Klein, that include not only fans at the game but also non-ticketed people such as concession workers, security and media, and – paradoxically – “no shows.”

The number of ticketed patrons coming to games was much lower, and dropped even more sharply last season than the official “announced” attendance, according to figures obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

Louisville interim AD Vince Tyra said the empty seats are certainly unsettling, but they’re going to work with what they have.

“I know the expansion is going on and I see empty seats; it’s the obvious question,” Tyra said. “But, am I going to go back and try to undo the stadium (construction) and tear it back down? No. We’re going to take it from here. It’s a situation we have and we’re going to figure out how to create business and marketing plan around what we have.”

For a school that saw a $2.8 million loss in basketball season ticket sales this season, the decline in attendance for football certainly isn’t good news for the athletic department.

UofL interim president Dr. Greg Postel said the basketball ticket sales are a massive disappointment, and the lack of public fan trust is understandable.

“The public trust in the University of Louisville, sadly, was shaken, over the last several years and I’ve seen abundant evidence of this.  There’s no one reason, it’s a variety of factors, but it’s the truth,” Postel explained.

I’m heartbroken. Really. I am.

Head on over to WDRB to read the entire report of UofL football’s attendance issues.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

8 Comments for Louisville football’s attendance sees massive drop, right when $63.25 million stadium expansion finishes

  1. IAmTheDanger
    7:02 pm February 4, 2018 Permalink

    The yum center and now Papa John’s stadium…some nice decisions being made down the road.

  2. jahanc2uky
    7:24 pm February 4, 2018 Permalink

    recruit a XFL team!!

  3. BlueDew
    7:41 pm February 4, 2018 Permalink

    We, tax payers, are bailing out the Yum. Probably will bail this garbage out too

  4. pcashen
    9:06 pm February 4, 2018 Permalink

    Lamar Jackson is gone who is there to watch

  5. antiquefurnitureandmidgets
    11:21 pm February 4, 2018 Permalink

    This decision alone should be enough to ding up Jurich’s reputation even among what we’re his most ardent supporters. You could’ve been brain dead and out of the country and you would’ve still been able to see the little brother syndrome in overdrive. What do you do when you have a stadium with 55,000 seats that you almost never come close to filling? Add 10,000 seats obviously. Gosh, you don’t suppose it has anything to do with being bigger than Commonwealth? That’s how much control Jurich and Ramsey had. They could earmark some $60 million dollars just to win some imaginary pissing contest.

  6. Bull Filmer
    5:29 am February 5, 2018 Permalink

    uavel = evil chump junior college.

  7. satcheluk
    7:33 am February 5, 2018 Permalink

    Jurich graduated from the Trump school of crowd counting.

  8. BlueDew
    8:05 am February 5, 2018 Permalink

    Had to be approved by several people other than president and AD. I believe it had to be approved by some one