Louisville leaders say NCAA basketball just one sport drawing vi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville leaders say NCAA basketball just one sport drawing visitors to downtown

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Big blue nation has undoubtedly descended on downtown Louisville. While some may call them crazy, the rest of the sports world isn't -- and that world is taking notice of the city.

"You have a terrific hospitality community, you have a great downtown scene with bars and restaurants and you have a passion for hosting sporting events," said Louisville Sports Commission Executive Director Karl Schmitt

It's been five years since the KFC Yum! Center opened its doors and the downtown arena is now a hub for big time sporting events.

"It's a number of things coming together," Schmitt said, "You have a great management in the Yum! center and you have the University of Louisville."

Sure, the basketball this week is nice but there's much, much more.

"There'll be another bid cycle for the NCAA. We'll bid on wrestling, and volleyball and basketball and women's basketball," Schmitt said.

Karl Schmitt with the Louisville Sports Commission says getting those bids really hasn't been difficult.

"There's so much good about downtown Louisville and our hospitality that it makes it relatively easy to host sporting events," he said.

He says it's grown over the past five years, culminating in the downtown seen by fans from the west coast to those from just down the road.

"You have people from all over the state of Kentucky that have come to watch their treasured Big Blue play and they've now had an experience, a great experience in downtown Louisville," Schmitt said.

While Big Blue Nation may always be on the move, leaders say the sports scene in Louisville is on the move too.

"It really adds to the coolness factor that we love about downtown Louisville," Schmitt added.

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