A professional indoor football team with ties to the Russell neighborhood announced a partnership to play at the KFC Yum Center, officials said Monday.
The Louisville Xtreme signed a three-year rental lease agreement to host games there beginning in April. It will be the first professional team to use the downtown arena, which opened in 2010, as its home base.
General manager Victor Cole said the deal was made possible by an ownership group that includes more than 20 Black stakeholders.
“It’s just, you know, historic in itself because you don’t see too many African American-owned professional sports franchises,” Cole said.
For those unfamiliar, indoor football is a variation on the original game that allows for fast-paced offensive play in smaller arenas.
Coach Mark Stoute leads Louisville Xtreme, which includes four former University of Louisville Cardinals football players. The team’s headquarters is in Russell, at the Old Walnut Street Plaza at 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
Cole said fans can expect affordable tickets, pre-game tailgating and a broadcast partnership with WDRB. This year’s season includes eight home games between April and August.
Seating is limited to 15% capacity and COVID-19 restrictions will be enforced.
Mayor Greg Fischer said he hopes the deal will inspire other cities to encourage and promote Black ownership of pro sports teams.
“This is really great news for the city, it’s like scoring a touchdown for our downtown at a time when cities all over the country are trying to figure, ‘How are we going to come back from this pandemic?” Fischer said.