The University of Louisville uses the excitement of the new season and a successfull national signing day to kick off its capital campaign called "Coming Full Circle" to expand Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and renovate the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex.
U of L athletic director Tom Jurich and associate AD Mark Jurich released the campaign kickoff at a press confernece on Thursday morning at the PNC Club in PJCS.
The expansion will add 10,000 seats North end zone that will bring the stadium's capacity to 65,000 seats and add 40,000 square feet to the football complex. The expansion will add a terrace to connect the stadium to both of the existing sides.
"From the response we've had, I expect it will move at a fairly rapid pace," Tom Jurich said.
The school also announced that PepsiCo has dontated $5 million for naming rights to the new suite area and that Planet Fitness has donated $3 million to the project. No seats or suites have been sold yet, but Tom Jurich said the demand is there.
"It's there," the elder Jurich said. "This project is a crucial investment in our football program and essential as we move this program forward in the ACC. We need this moving forward."
The expansion will include 1,000 club seats, 70 premium boxes, and 12 exclusive field level suites. In addition, athletes will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, and fans will have opportunities to be closer to the action with new vantage points, expanded club areas, and improved game-day atmosphere.
"This is going to have all the bells and whistles," he said. "We didn't come up with this ourselves. I stole it from the Dallas Cowboys and from Seattle. . . . You're always going to have (attendance) ebb and flows. But you want to make sure you're ready for the big games."
U of L says it hasn't put a time table on the expansion but Jurich said he would "clearly" like for it to be ready for the home opener for the 2019 season, which is set for Labor Day night against Notre Dame.
"I think we'd be able to fill it for that," Tom Jurich said with a smile.