Louisville, L&N reach $41M stadium naming agreement
By GARY B. GRAVES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville has reached a 20-year, $41 million agreement with L&N Federal Credit Union through 2042 to rename its Cardinal Stadium home football field.
The 25-year-old, 60,800-seat stadium had been without a title sponsor since 2018, when the school dropped the name and logo of Louisville-based pizza chain Papa John's amid fallout from a report that founder John Schnatter used a racial slur during a company conference call. The University of Louisville Athletic Association agreed in October 2019 to pay Schnatter $9.5 million over five-plus years in a settlement to terminate naming rights. A final $2 million payment is due this summer.
Louisville athletic director Josh Heird said during a news conference on Monday that the school had talked with local, regional and national companies before realizing L&N could be interested.
Heird added, "This is one of those stories that sometimes what you're looking for is right under your nose. ... Fortunately for us, when the conversation was had, they didn't say no."
L&N's name is already on the nearby home arena for Louisville's women's volleyball and Denny Crum Hall, a dormitory that opened last fall to honor the Hall of Fame former men's basketball coach.
The company was founded in 1954 on the current stadium site to serve L&N Railroad workers in Louisville. An original train horn from the site is sounded after the Cardinals score a touchdown.
L&N CEO/President Chris Brown said the company was thrilled and honored for the opportunity to partner with Louisville in a release and added, "this long-term commitment strengthens our relationship."
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Updated January 30, 2023