Board approves increase in ticket prices for U of L men's basketball games at KFC Yum! Center

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The cost of University of Louisville men’s basketball tickets will climb by $3 per game starting this fall, with the school setting aside part of the increase to aid the KFC Yum! Center.

U of L’s athletics association agreed to the higher ticket prices -- $49 per game, up from $46 this year – at a meeting on Friday in which it also approved next year’s budget. Not including donations, it will cost $1,031 for 21 single-game tickets during the 2017-18 basketball season.

University officials said $2 of the increase will be earmarked as a Yum! Center facility fee, which goes to the Louisville Arena Authority. U of L and the arena board are negotiating a revised lease for the building at Second and Main streets.

U of L interim President Greg Postel said he expects those talks will result in a revised deal to present to trustees and athletic board members in late June or early July. An increase in the facility fee – from $2 to $5 – is part of the discussions with arena officials, he said.

He did not disclose other issues under negotiation. Last month, he said the school was working on a “creative solution” that would return at least $2.5 million more per year to the arena authority.

In March, Kentucky state legislators voted to give the arena authority 25 more years to collect sales, property and other tax revenue from a tax increment financing, or TIF, district near the Yum! Center. Metro government also is reviewing its contribution to the arena.

Arena officials have said they need a revised U of L lease before refinancing construction bonds, hoping to make annual payments more affordable and saving tens of millions of dollars in interest costs.

“We’re all having to do our part, even to the point where it hurts a bit,” Postel said.

For now, the other $1 included in the ticket increase would stay with the athletic association. However, diverting the other $2 to the arena authority “hits us,” said Tom Jurich, U of L’s athletic director.

“When our fans have to pay an extra $2, that’s money that we would usually get to fund our other 22 athletic programs that we’re not going to have,” he said.

The athletic association approved a $104.5 million budget for the school’s sports programs for 2017-18 – the first time for a spending plan greater than $100 million.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.