Alright. Let’s talk Louisville. It really gets on my nerves when people are against an NBA team here. NBA fan or not, it would make sense. Let’s address several arguments I hear against a NBA team in Louisville.
PEOPLE HERE LIKE COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND WON’T SUPPORT NBA
What? So much evidence suggests otherwise. First of all, people in this city love basketball. As a former high school player I played in many packed and high energy gyms across the city. I never heard anyone say, “High school players play with more heart, they aren’t worried about scholarships and money. It’s more honest basketball” (You may sense some hostility to this comment; as you should. I’ll address that later). No. Let’s address that now. You can’t tell me that without the regulations from the NCAA some of these college players would be going directly to the NBA. You may also consider their choice of playing at Kentucky or UL is directly related to the ability of the coach to get them to the league. Therefore, for some of these kids it’s all about the money.
As a repeat season ticket holder to UL you see the same passion but on a larger scale. Instead of high school loyalty dividing fans, they can unite under the University of Louisville. This city is still divided. I don’t even have to mention the rivalry that divides us when it comes to sports. Imagine the energy and pure magic that could be instilled in the city if we actually had something we can all root for as one. I cite December 8th, 2010. The Louisville home game in the Yum! Center that evening had an attendance of 21,000 fans. Simultaneously the University of Kentucky hosted Notre Dame in Freedom Hall with an attendance of 18,000 fans. That is a total of 39,000 fans in the same city, miles apart, at the same time, supporting a team that they love. This is almost double the seating capacity of the Yum! Center for basketball games.
Lets task October 4th, 2014. The Yum! Center hosted an NBA exposition game between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans. Even in the wake of Lebron leaving the Heat more than 21,000 people attended the game. This was in competition with a waterfront/river road music festival and events on Fourth street as well. You don’t have to take it from me, see what the Heat have to say about their experience in the Yum Center. I sat in the fifth row at the game. The energy when Russ Smith and Anthony Davis took the floor was unparalleled to any energy I have felt at any NBA game I have attended. Moral is that the Heat think they can make money playing in our arena…. why can’t we have our home team to keep that money in-house?
I also would like to refer you to an earlier post talking about former UL and UK players in the league and further reasons why Louisville would support the NBA.
Also, remember that exhibition game that occurred on October 4th, 2014? 81% of the people who attended were from Louisville or Southern Indiana. Take a look at the population trend of this region.
WHERE IS THE CORPORATE MONEY TO SUPPORT THIS?
By no means can I speak for any corporation. What I do see and would like to point out is the commitment corporations in Louisville have made to the city.
The obvious one is the fact that our arena is named the YUM! center. If Yum! did not anticipate success, they would not have put the 100 million plus into the arena to have it build. It is and will be their contribution and legacy in the city. They are rooted in the town and seem to be itching to have something to get the city behind and excited about. With a market cap of 33.69 billion dollars as reported by Forbes, I am sure that they can find a way to give support to the potential team.
Brown-Forman is another local name that has taken interest in our town here. Our city is growing, especially downtown. Neighborhoods are improving, remodeling, and trying to contribute to the growth that the Yum! Center may seem to be helping. For example Whiskey Row downtown just east of the arena is continuing to grown. With a name like that, who would you guess is having a hand in this directional growth? If you guessed Brown-Forman you would be correct. This shows their dedication and involvement with the growth of the city.
NuLu is another neighborhood on the rise! They host a variety of events and festivals for the citizens here. The NuLu fest that occurred over the summer tops that list. I encourage you all to attend next summer to see the new-found energy in an all but seemingly forgotten part of the town.
Louisville will continue to grow. Current plans for a new Omni Hotel to be built shows that not only I, but parties outside of the city believe in the growth that we are kick starting in the city.
IT WOULD MESS WITH UofL AND THEIR SCHEDULE
I believe in this city and its potential. It is impossible to ignore the positive economic result of bringing an NBA team to Louisville. That is why I am such an avid supporter. The University of Louisville does not own the Yum! Center. I fear that is what people are expecting. They are merely a resident. If you do not think we could coordinate schedules of the teams then I laugh and would like to direct you to the Staples Center in LA. If they can handle coordination of hockey, 2 NBA teams, concerts, and other national training type events, we could handle a couple of basketball schedules.
I close with simply this. If you don’t like the NBA, that is fine. I am not here to directly turn you into a die-hard fan. There is however no reason why would should be opposed to this prospect. Maybe you are scared of change. I will warn you though. The worst way to run your business and life is with a “This is how we have always done it attitude.” That prevents growth, efficiency, and profit. You can choose to not attend, but I’ll be at the game with a beer, apparel, plenty of heckling, and 22,000 other people.