Sports

Louisville’s new soccer stadium is still on track to be completed by the spring, but is costing more than initially expected.

At a Louisville City Football Club event Thursday, officials laid new grass down in preparation for the season and said that the stadium construction will cost about $67 million — $17 million more than initially expected.

City and Louisville FC Team Officials unroll some of the first patches of grass on the stadium's fieldKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

City and Louisville FC Team Officials unroll some of the first patches of grass on the stadium’s field.

Louisville City FC President Brad Estes said the team requested the grass, which will cost $1.2 million with an additional cost of “a couple hundred thousand dollars” annually to maintain it.

“You start to see things that you didn’t put into your original plans that you want to put into your plans as you start to see other stadiums,” Estes said of the cost increase. “So we’ve done that a little bit here and there. Nothing that’s over the top, but the budget has moved a couple of times.”

Louisville City FC Coach John Hackworth said it was important to use real grass because it makes a difference in how the team plays.

“When you’re on artificial surface in our sport, you get much more of a bounce. It’s like trying to bounce a soccer ball off of concrete,” Hackworth said. “So it’s a much different kind of game.”

A lot has changed since 2017 — when team officials unveiled plans to build the stadium.

Stadium construction was first estimated to cost the team around $50 million. Those costs have since ballooned, by Estes’ estimate, to $67 million. The 14,000 capacity stadium is also being backed by Mark Lynn, who struck a 10-year deal team officials to name the structure the Lynn Family Stadium. Lynn declined to say how much the family paid for the deal, only saying it was a “fair sum.”

Though costs are up, officials said the stadium is still on schedule to open by the team’s spring 2020 season.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.