Businesses eager for the first event at the KFC Yum! Center

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Cardinal fans got a glimpse inside the KFC Yum! Center Sunday afternoon. The arena seats about 22,000 people. The facility cost $238 million to build. It is the first sports and entertainment arena built in Louisville in 54 years.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Governor Steve Beshear said the arena was a vision that will pay off in the Commonwealth.

"I still don't believe it - to this day - that it has happened," said U of L Men's Basketball Coach, Rick Pitino.

Many Cardinal fans wanted to check out the facility, after waiting for so long to see it.

"I love it. It's great -every view, every seat looks awesome," John O'Callaghan said.

O'Callaghan's son, Frank, also enjoyed it.

"I think it's big. The technology is amazing," Frank O'Callaghan.

"This is a great building - not only for the University of Louisville -not only for the city of Louisville, but for the Commonwealth of Kentucky," Louisville Arena Authority Chairman, Jim Host, told the crowd.

Gov. Beshear says the KFC Yum! Center is attracting bookings the city had previously lost out on because of more modern facilities in other cities.

"Already this center has been sought out by major sports competitors, concerts, and conventions who want to be a part of this center," Beshear said.

It's the people who will be going to events at the arena that manager, Justin Marcum, hopes will also make a stop at O'Shea's.

"Just one more week, just one more week because the Eagles concert with it being next week, we're all excited," Marcum said. "Business has been good, but we don't know what to expect.

Marcum says they have a game plan to attract people leaving the arena - like having a game room with pool tables and darts downstairs.

Heather O'Callaghan works with a distributor for Brown-Forman and Woodford Reserve and she can't wait to see how the arena will transform downtown Louisville.

"I think it's going to a lot for us with restaurants and bars and people coming to downtown, staying downtown - the convention the business in general," O'Callaghan said.

"Now you can walk downtown," said John O'Callaghan. "Have a meal have a meal beforehand - you can make an evening out of it. For me, it's a lot more exciting."

That's what people are hoping for.

"It is a magnet that will spur economic growth - not just in the city, but through this entire state," Gov. Beshear said.

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