SBD/May 9, 2013/Franchises

Study Indicates Louisville Lacks Corporate Support Necessary For An NBA Franchise

There is "doubt on the viability of an NBA franchise in Louisville" due to a "lack of big companies to buy luxury suites, the proximity of the Indiana Pacers’ home court and competition from college basketball in the area," according to a Greater Louisville Inc. study cited by Chris Otts of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. The study said a Louisville NBA team "would likely need a disproportionately higher level of support per company given the relative lack of corporate depth available." In citing Louisville’s proximity to Indianapolis, the report noted, “No two existing NBA markets with less than 3.5 million residents are located within a five hour drive of one another.” The study concludes that rather than "generate additional corporate spending on sports and entertainment, an NBA team would likely reallocate spending away from current attractions." The summary notes that Louisville compared to the seven smallest NBA markets "outranks only New Orleans in terms of companies" -- defined as those with at least $5M in sales with a presence within 50 miles -- per suites available for big league or college sports. Among "nine 'potential relocation markets' for the NBA, Louisville outranks only Pittsburgh in the same comparison of big companies per suite." The summary noted that Louisville has 165,000 households with at least $75,000 in income within a 60-minute drive of the 22,090-seat KFC Yum! Center -- representing "more than three cities that have NBA franchises, New Orleans, Memphis and Oklahoma City." GLI VP/Public Affairs & Communications Carmen Hickerson added the Univ. of Louisville’s perks as the arena’s anchor tenant, including scheduling priority and a cut of arena revenue, would “likely need to be addressed” if it were to share the building (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/7).
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