Yum! names Arena; Butler UL's first opponent

There was big news about the downtown arena on Monday. In an announcement by the Arena Authority and Yum! Brands, Louisville's new basketball arena will be called the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville coach Rick Pitino also announced that Butler will be the Cards first opponent in their new arena.

There was big news about the downtown arena on Monday.

In an announcement by the Louisville Arena Authority and Yum! Brands, Louisville's new basketball arena will be called the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville coach Rick Pitino also announced that Butler will be the Cards first opponent in their new arena.

For the naming right of the new arena, Yum! Brands agreed to a $13.5 million, 10 year contract that will make the Louisville-based fast food company the arena's title sponsor.

The deal will allow Yum! companies KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell seven concession areas inside the arena, plus advertising throughout the arena, including the roof.

"We are absolutely thrilled to unveil our new arena name, KFC Yum! Center," said Jim Host, Chair of the Louisville Arena Authority. "We have been patient throughout this process, knowing the excitement was building for this particular day when we could announce which company would capitalize on this marquee naming rights partnership. We are deeply appreciative of Team Services' efforts in culminating the naming rights transaction with Yum! Brands."


Louisville will open its new arena against 2010 national runner-up Butler Nov. 16.
Yum! will have an option after eight years to renew their sponsorship of the arena for five additional years. Yum! Brands annual commitment to the new arena for naming rights is $1.35 million, less than projections a deal would bring the arena operators and UofL.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino also announced that the Cardinals will open the new arena against Butler November 16.

The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA championship game this season before losing to Duke in the finals. If Butler forward Gordon Hayward returns to school, the Bulldogs will be ranked in the preseason Top 5.

"We're very excited to play Butler to open it up," Pitino said. "They have an outstanding team coming back. They are going to be a Top 5 team again. I have an enormous amount of respect for their program and Brad Stevens. This new arena deserves a Butler opening because it is going to be the finest arena built - pro or college - in basketball."

Louisville will return the game with a trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse to play Butler in 2011-12.


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