Despite turmoil at U of L, arena board still plans to refinance - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Despite turmoil at U of L, arena board still plans to refinance KFC Yum! Center debt

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Louisville Arena Authority plans to move forward with the scheduled refinancing of the KFC Yum! Center’s debt, even as the building's main tenant faces an uncertain future.

University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino was suspended Wednesday, a day after federal criminal complaints alleged that at least two U of L coaches had roles in schemes to pay prospective recruits.

That comes as U of L already is on probation for a recruiting scandal that landed the school on NCAA probation – raising the possibility of harsher sanctions.

The arena board still intends to refinance the arena’s bonds this fall, said its chairman, Scott C. Cox.

“What’s happened in the last few days does not change that,” he said. “We’re going to push hard.”

Faced with increasing debt payments, the arena board intends to refund the arena’s bonds and replace them with new ones. In so doing, officials anticipate they will pay less over the next decade – in some cases, as much as $10 million less.

To retire the debt, the arena board would use a mix of revenues that includes money generated when U of L rents the arena for men’s basketball games.

The university agreed this summer to pay the arena authority an additional $2.42 million per year and cede control of arena dates in October. In recent years, the school has provided more than $1.3 million annually under a revenue sharing agreement.

The arena authority still is waiting for Wall Street analysts to rate the bonds. In the past, they have noted the success of U of L basketball when evaluating the arena authority’s ability to pay down debt.

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Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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