What happens to faithful UofL fans when the Cards move downtown?


by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 1, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 1 at 6:45 PM

The end is near for Cardinal basketball at Freedom Hall.

Only one game is left and it’s this Saturday against the #1 team in the country Syracuse.

After that, what happens to faithful UofL fans when the Cardinals move downtown?

UofL says bar none the new as of yet simply named "Downtown Arena" will be the best arena in college or pro basketball.

But for Cardinal fans who have known only one classic home since 1956, will this become a home away from that home?

It may be old but it's still home.

“We’re in 344 in the end zone, but there's not a bad seat in Freedom Hall,” said Bruce Bauer who has attended every Cardinal home game since 1985.

As a current season ticket holder, Bauer is guaranteed a spot somewhere in the new downtown arena, but he'll have to stand in line.

The fans with the highest number of Cardinal Athletic Fund Priority Points get to pick first.  The points reflect financial donations, how long a fan has held season tickets, and if a fan supports other sports.

Gary Friedman, Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director, said, “We have had a lot of phone calls, a lot of questions, which is good and again our goal is to really communicate as much as possible with the fans.  Hopefully I'll have seats as well as I have now, but I might have to pay more.”

Bauer currently pays a $300 donation on top of the season ticket price.

On UofLArenaSeats.com, you can click on any seat location for its 3D view, and find out how much of an annual donation is required per seat.

“I like to be up high. I use a pair of binoculars and it's like watching it on TV,” said Bauer.

As it turns out, seats similar to the upper level end zone where Bauer is now, require no donation.

Friedman said, “In the new arena, there is actually seats with just the season ticket cost, there's no donation associated with those seats and that presently does not exist at Freedom Hall.”

So why would you sit that high at Freedom Hall or even higher at the downtown arena?

Bruce Bauer has missed family events and scheduled concrete pours so he doesn't miss a game.

“The atmosphere and you can let off a lot of steam after a hard day’s work, you know you can scream and holler and takes a lot of pressure off of your day,” he said.

UofL says there's just no comparison in the amenities at the new arena compared to Freedom Hall, including corporate suites.

Freedom Hall has 24 suites.  The new arena will have 72.

And they still have about 8 suites available at only $75,000 to $95,000 per year.

When will current season ticket holders choose their new seats in Freedom Hall?

Letters will start going out to the 5500 season ticket holders this month with the date and time of their seat selection.

Then, at the end of April, those appointments begin in the press box area of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

UofL expects that process to last up to 55 days.