Officials threw open the doors of the KFC YUM! Center to the public after an hourlong ceremony during which Governor Steve Beshear noted the diverse events the 22,000 seat arena will hold in the coming months.
“The Eagles, Lady Gaga, championship ladies’ volleyball, four religious conventions, a home for the University of Louisville’s Cardinals,” he said.
Men’s coach Rick Pitino told the crowd that he initially had doubts that the project would ever get off the ground.
“Then (arena authority chariman) Jim Host got involved and I knew it had a chance, and then they were haggling over the site, everybody had their individual agendas for that. Fortunately, reasonable minds came to the decision to put it on the river, and as you look at the place when you get inside, you realize what a great site it is,” he said.
Indide the arena, hundreds of people took the opportunity to mill around and try out the seats. Among them was U of L fan Gary Stratton.
“I love it. I love (being) next to the river. The river view is great,” he said.
The first major event in the arena will be a concert by the Eagles next Sunday.
Public tours of the arena will be conducted on October 19.