Arena Authority Seeks New Management for Yum Center

The Louisville Arena Authority wants new management of the KFC Yum Center.

The authority voted today to look into dissolving its management agreement with the state fair board and inking a new deal with a private firm.

“When you're trying to manage the Yum Center, the convention center and Freedom Hall, I think it's just hard to focus on controlling expenses at the arena because it's not their first priority,” says Metro Council President and authority board member Jim King.

The credit rating agency Moody's recently downgraded the bonds on the arena to junk status, citing in part high operating costs compared to revenue.

“We have not been taking care of watching our expenses and I think bringing in a new management team will help us do that,” says King. 

The Moddy's downgrade was also attributed to the underperformance of businesses around the arena, whose tax revenue helps pay down debt on the facility. King says he believes the downgrade was unnecessary, and the economy is largely to blame for poor business revenues. The authority has three firms in mind to take over the arena’s management.

UPDATE: Hear is a statement from Fair Board President Harold Workman:

 

Our partnership with the Louisville Arena Authority has been successful on many levels.  And that will continue through a seamless transition to the new management structure and a long-term relationship.  After all, the KFC Yum! Center is such a prominent and flexible facility that it will play an important role as we work to secure and manage future convention and event business.
 
And that is our primary role.  A new management structure allows the Fair Board to devote its full resources to growing business at the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center.  We look forward to the success of all three venues.
 

Gabe Bullard

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.

@gbullard

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