LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS 11) -- As we continue our coverage on the U of L Men's Basketball Team's involvement in a federal investigation, many are wondering what this news means for the KFC Yum Center, the home of the Cardinals. UofL is the arena's main tenant and as we know, that arena is far from being paid off.
Scott Cox, Chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority says, "What is transpiring at the University and at the united states attorney's office in the southern district of New York, does affect the arena so it's something we are paying close attention to."
The FBI is now investigating the University of Louisville for alleged involvement in fraud and bribery involving a player, coaches and it's sponsor Adidas. Cox adds, "The income that we drive to help service this debt is through ticket sales and things like that so we have a shared interest with the University that they have a successful men's and women's basketball program."
Cox says paying the bonds used to finance construction is a shared agreement with the City and UofL, adding, "There are some balloon payments for instance, one in 2029 that we were not going to be able to meet and probably in the next couple of years, weren't going to be able to service the debt." Once that happened, Cox says the Arena Authority worked with the legislature to lengthen the tax increment financing to modify the bonds.
The city of Louisville agreed to pay more money every year while bonds are in existence and U of L also agreed to pay more money to service the debt. The more fans filling seats means the more cash that comes in. That is a concern now with major shake-ups affecting the team.
Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, represents District 4 which includes the Yum Center and tells WHAS 11, "I believe these businesses will find a way to keep these doors open and I know that the community and the region will can come out and support those businesses whether there is something going on at the KFC Yum Center or not, that is where the real opportunity is going to come."
Only time will tell what impact this investigation will have on the arena, but it's a question that is on the minds of many. WHAS 11 asked for Mayor Greg Fischer's thoughts on the investigation affecting the Yum Center, he said it's too early to speculate but did tell us, "I believe in the University of Louisville. We all need to support its students, faculty, and staff who work hard every day. I have confidence that the Board of Trustees will take the necessary actions to lead the city's flagship university to a bright future."