It took four years, but a new contender for that crown has emerged.
Kentucky-based fast food giant Yum Brands, which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, will pay $13.5 million a year for the next 10 years to be primary sponsor of Louisville's sparkling new downtown arena. As a result, the school announced Monday that the 22,000-seat venue will be known as the KFC Yum! Center.
Nobody should be naive enough to think we can stop the encroachment of corporate America into collegiate athletics, but this would have been a nice place for Louisville to draw the line. Instead of shaving a few million dollars off the asking price and going with something like the Louisville Center sponsored by Yum Brands, the school chose money at the expense of class.
What will fans call this arena? The Yum? The Bucket? The Deep Fryer? Ugh, Ugh and Ugh. Long way from Freedom Hall, isn't it?
The only good news to come from Louisville's news conference this afternoon was the announcement that the Cardinals will christen the arena with a marquee matchup against national runner-up Butler on Nov. 16.
The winner will surely dine on fried chicken after the game. The loser will probably have to endure 24 hours of 'extra crispy' jokes at its expense.