U of L begins fundraising for 10,000-seat expansion at Papa John - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L begins fundraising for 10,000-seat expansion at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville Athletic Department announced a second expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium last August and, Thursday, the department announced more details of the expansion as it's fundraising campaign officially kicked off.

"We're very confident that there's a lot of momentum, positive momentum in this program and the job that Bobby's done in the two years he's been here, we think it's the right move and excited to move it on," Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich said.

The new expansion includes 12 field-level suites, 70 premium boxes similar to those at the KFC Yum! Center and 1,000 club seats.

"All in total we're going to have 10,000 seats, that'll put our seating capacity to 65,000," said Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Jurich.

The new design will cost $55 million to complete. Louisville settled on this model after looking at seven or eight different designs.

"These ideas didn't just come from me or Mark, I stole these from the Dallas Cowboys stadium and Seattle, that's where this whole thing is coming from. So, it's going to have those kinds of amenities," said Tom.

He said joining the ACC played a big part in deciding to expand.

"If we were in the American, I don't think we'd be looking at that right now, I think we'd be putting this on hold. And our new conference though, I think we're going to have so many great opportunities to fill this stadium, that it's going to pay many, many dividends," said Tom.

Once the $55 million is raised, construction will begin and the Johnny Unitas statue will need a new home.  

"We are certainly open for suggestions on where to put it, you know I've had a couple great recommendations from fans and certainly open for more," said Mark.  

And with higher profile teams coming in the next few years, Louisville is hoping to start construction as soon as possible..

"The 2019 season we open that Labor Day Monday night, just like we did with Miami a couple years ago, that's going to be the Notre Dame game, so I think we'll be able to fill those seats," said Tom.

The new expansion won't make the stadium the biggest in the nation by any means. But Louisville says it will be the nicest, most luxurious stadium in college football. 

"We believe in the 'wow' factor and we believe in selling the 'wow' factor because I think, not only from a recruiting stand point but from our community pride stand point, people want to see something that's special,"

Ticket prices are still being decided but they want to make it accessible to all fans.

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