Louisville football empty seats

Puma Pass throws against N.C. State in front of a largely empty Cardinal Stadium on Nov. 17, 2018. (Eric Crawford/WDRB)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville football fans will get early access to the parking lots on Sept. 2 when when the Cardinals square off against Notre Dame at 8 p.m. for the first home game of the season.

According to a news release from U of L Athletics, fans with reserved parking passes in the U of L lots surrounding Cardinal Stadium can enter the lots beginning at noon. That's a special early entrance two hours ahead of the regular opening time for the parking lots.

Stadium gates will open at 6 p.m. for the 8 p.m. game.

The 'Card March'

Fans will also have the opportunity to greet the team as they enter the stadium for the pregame "Card March," when players are dropped off on the south side of the Denny Crum Overpass on Central Avenue at 5:30 p.m. The U of L marching band and spirit groups will accompany the team from the Purple Lot, through the tunnel and into Cardinal Stadium. Fans are invited to arrive early and create an entrance way for the players as they head into the stadium.

Lot color change

The Green parking lots at Cardinal Stadium are now the "Planet Fitness Purple Lots," in recognition of a financial gift from Rick and David Kueber to U of L Athletics. The Kuebers are leading Planet Fitness franchisees and co-founders of Sun Tan City.

Increased options for food and beverages

Several new items have been added to the menu of items on sale at Cardinal Stadium. Those new menu items include:

  • Fan vs. Food Gourmet Dogs: Half-pound foot-long hot dogs topped with food items themed after opponents
  • Chick-fil-A sandwiches
  • Ben's Made from Scratch Soft Pretzels
  • Cardinal Nachos topped with RED jalapenos
  • Frozen Lemonade Carts: Carts in eight locations will be sellingĀ  frozen strawberry and regular lemonade cups
  • A re-branded bar in the Brown & Williamson Club will feature local Goodwood Brewery craft beer products
  • Funnel Cakes: Regular funnel cakes as well as a special U of L-themed cake made with red velvet funnel cake mix and black icing.

Special value menu pricing

According to the news release, a value menu has been created for fans at marked concession stands. Five concession items have been reduced in price for the season to $3. That includes a hot dog, popcorn, pretzel, 20-ounce soft drink and bottled water. Other menu items will remain available at various prices in addition to the value selections.

Happy Hour prices

Fans can get drinks for special Happy Hour pregame prices beginning at 6 p.m. when gates open. Fans who get their early can purchase $3 domestic draft beer or $5 12-ounce cans on the Norton Terrace or UPS Flight Deck and $3 domestic drafts throughout the remainder of the stadium until kickoff.

Special cups

Season ticket holders will be provided with special cups that will allow them to fill up on soda for $3 throughout that season with that cup only and only for fountain sodas purchased at permanent concession stands. An email will be distributed to season ticket holders with more information.

Some sections renumbered

Some areas have been renumbered in order to make the stadium easier to navigate. The areas affected include the west side suites, the north end expansion upper level, the Pepsi Club, the Brown and Williamson Club, the PNC Club loge seats and the UPS Flight Deck. Seat locations have not changed, but these sections are renumbered:

  • The UPS flight deck sections 1-12 will now be numbered sections 301-312.
  • The PNC Club will now be numbered E1-E12 (previously L1-L12) with the "E" indicating "East."
  • The 200/300 level Pepsi Club will be renumbered to N1-N9 (previously 238 to 246) and N20 to N25 (previously 338 to 346) with the "N" indicating "North."
  • The 300 level Brown and Williamson Club will now be renumbered W1 to W17 (previously 301 to 317) with the "W" indicating "West."
  • The 400 upper level will now be 200 level sections numbered 238 to 246 (North End Expansion Upper Level previously 438 to 446)
  • The 400/500 level suites will now be numbered in line with the east and west side suites and will include an "S" to indicate suite level.

Fireworks

Fans in the south end zone can expect a lot of noise as fireworks launched before the game and after Louisville touchdowns have been moved from above the Schnellenberger Complex to the roof of the Norton Terrace.

Wanding

Fans are asked to enter the stadium as early as possible as magnetic wanding is part of the entry process for every patron. Fans will be asked to empty their pockets before being wanded by a security guard.

Clear bag policy

"A clear bag policy remains in place for Cardinal Stadium," the news release states. "Fans are encouraged not to bring any bags inside the stadium; however, each ticket holder is allowed one small clutch purse (no larger than 6.5 x 4.5 inches) and one large clear bag, either a one-gallon clear Ziploc-style storage bag or a 12 x 6 x 12 inches clear tote bag. The policy, which includes all U of L athletic venues on campus, is similar to one instituted at all NFL and many collegiate venues in recent years, enhancing security procedures to ensure a safe environment."

Diaper bags will be permitted with children but will be subject to a thorough safety inspection. A clear bag is strongly recommended for bringing diapers and non-medically necessary items for babies and young children. Exceptions will be made for medical items that can't be transported in a clear plastic bag. Medically necessary items or equipment may be brought into the game, but the bags or equipment may be inspected and tagged by security supervisors at the entry gates.

There is no check-in location for prohibited items, so fans will be asked to return non-approved bags or other items to their vehicle before they enter the stadium.

Approved clear tote bags will be available for purchase from Cardinal Athletic, the store located at Gate 2 of Cardinal Stadium at 2800 South Floyd St.

Fans are prohibited from using tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vaping. There are no designated smoking areas within Cardinal Stadium or within 50 feet of an exterior gate or entrance.

Customer relations

A new Customer Relations staff will be deployed throughout the stadium parking lots to help answer questions and relay information to the stadium command center.

Customer Relations Booths will be located in Sections 108, 120, 132, 243 and on the UPS Flight Deck near the south elevators. These booths can provide the following services:

  • Providing general information assistance
  • Tag-A-Kid / At-Risk Adult ID Program
  • Lost and foundĀ 
  • Family / Assisted restroom entry codes
  • Distributing game day program
  • Curtained areas will be available for mothers to breast-feed their children within Customer Relations Booth located at Sections 108, 120 and 132.

Taxi services:

Both Yellow Cab and Taxi 7 will provide a postgame taxi stand for fans to get a ride home. The stand will be located on the eastbound lanes of Central Avenue. Fans will be able to access the stand by walking up the Central Avenue stairs on the south side of Central Avenue after walking through the Card March tunnel. Taxis will begin staging approximately 30 minutes before the game ends.

A dedicated drop-off and pick-up location has been created for Uber and Lyft as well. It will be located on Third Street at Jim Patterson Stadium. Fans can access this lot via Third Street only from either Central Avenue or University Boulevard to the Brook Street overpass.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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