Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich are squabbling over talks of bringing an NBA franchise to the city.
Recently, Fischer met with business leaders and local boosters about the prospect of bringing professional basketball to the KFC Yum Center. The downtown arena has been facing financial troubles, and the parent company of the current arena manager—Anschults Entertainment Group (AEG)—has announced plans to sell the subsidiary.
But as The Courier-Journal’s Tom Sullivan reports, Jurich took exception to Fischer holding a meeting about bringing the NBA to Louisville without including the arena’s main tenant.
“(Mayor Fischer) is a guy full of signals,” Jurich told the newspaper. “He needs to work a little bit more with transparency. He likes to throw that word (transparency) around, but you need to practice what you preach.”
As political observer have pointed out, the university is one of the chief obstacles to bringing pro basketball back to Kentucky. During the C-J interview, Jurich added that the university initially wanted an on campus arena, but agreed to a downtown location and that amending the lease agreement would be a “bait-and-switch” by the city.
Reports are also beginning to leak ou that Fischer had the unusual idea of having the Indiana Pacers play 10 home games in Louisville.
During a mayor’s office meeting about Cardinals soccer and a new soccer stadium, Fischer brought up basketball and an idea for the Indiana Pacers to play ten games at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville during the regular season, according to Kenny Klein, U of L Sports Information Director. Klein said the information came from Jurich, who declined to be interviewed.
A Pacers public relations official said he was “not aware of any such thing.”
The numbers show the Pacers make over $100 million in revenue and pull $16 million in gate receipts.