SBD/June 5, 2014/Franchises

Louisville's New USL Pro Team Unveiled To Big Crowds, With Financial Support From City

Yesterday's formal unveiling of USL Pro expansion club Louisville City FC saw a "few hundred fans" and members of the media attend the news conference, and interest in the team is "already at a fever pitch," according to Braden Lammers of LOUISVILLE BUSINESS FIRST. TEG Architects President Wayne Estopinal, who is a minority owner in Orlando City SC and was a "driving force" behind Louisville landing a franchise, "pointed to the support the team already has received without playing a single game." He said that as of yesterday afternoon, 278 season ticket deposits "already had been made." Lammers noted the club "will be playing at Louisville Slugger Field" starting in '15. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that $581,000 in his city budget proposal "will go to build a home team locker facility and help pay some of the costs to make the baseball field at Louisville Slugger Field compatible for soccer." The city also "has agreed to help support a new stadium for a soccer franchise if the team achieves specific attendance goals." An additional $2.2M in private money "has been raised by an investor group of about 25 people, a portion of which formed a company called Skyball 11 LLC." Estopinal said that the threshold for fans in '15 "will be 3,500 attendees on average per game and will increase by 500 fans each year for the next two years" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/4). In Louisville, Jonathan Lintner notes Estopinal in trying to land a franchise "got a start from a soccer support group called The Coopers, named after bourbon barrel-makers." Estopinal said, "We've got 1,200 season ticket pledges." Lintner reports the number jumped "to more than 2,000" before yesterday's announcement (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 6/5).
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