CRAWFORD | Jurich expects PJCS expansion fundraising to move 'at - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Jurich expects PJCS expansion fundraising to move 'at a rapid pace'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- National signing day for high school football players began Wednesday morning, but a signing day just as lucrative was held Wednesday night in the PNC Club of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

There, University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and associate AD Mark Jurich, his son, rolled out the "Coming Full Circle" capital campaign they hope will fund a 10,000-seat North end zone expansion that will bring the stadium's capacity to 65,000 seats and add 40,000 square feet to the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex.

Thursday morning, they unveiled a video rendering of the stadium expansion, and announced that PepsiCo has donated $5 million for naming rights to the new suite area, and that Planet Fitness has donated $3 million as part of the project.

A source also told WDRB that the 12 field-level suites likely were snapped up Wednesday night, at an up-front donation cost of $200,000 and a yearly rental on top of it.

"We can give you a few more details now," Jurich said Wednesday. "I can tell you that the fund-raising is coming to fruition. . . . From the response we've had, I expect it will move at a fairly rapid pace."

Attendance across college football has been down over the past several seasons, and Louisville experienced several crowds of less than 50,000 last season. But Jurich has never worried about current attendance. He looks to the future. The Cardinals drew less than 40,000 in some games before the most recent expansion. He says the demand is there, and noted that this expansion wasn't as much about total seats as about amenities.

"This is going to have all the bells and whistles," he said. "Mark and I 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."

Jurich wouldn't put a timetable on expansion, but clearly would like for the stadium to be ready for the season-opener against Notre Dame in 2019 -- though he would take sooner.

"I think we could fill that," he said, smiling.

Jurich said that in addition to expanding the stadium, he expects to extend the contract of football coach Bobby Petrino soon.

"Petrino 2.0 has done everything we've asked of him," Jurich said. "I told him I would make that happen soon."

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