Inside the Venue: KFC Yum! Center

By Brian Knapp Mar 3, 2011
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Built: 2010
Cost: $238 million
Seating Capacity: 22,000
Architect: Populous

The KFC Yum! Center will play host to its first major mixed martial arts event on Thursday, when UFC Live 3 “Sanchez vs. Kampmann” touches down in Louisville, Ky. The show, which will air live on the Versus network, will be headlined by a key welterweight matchup between “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez and the world-ranked Martin Kampmann. Ten other bouts fill out the lineup.

Architects broke ground on the 22,000-seat facility in December 2008 and completed work 22 months later. It opened in October under the Louisville Downtown Arena name, serving as the home court for the University of Louisville men’s and women’s basketball teams. Yum! Brands -- which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut -- purchased naming rights to the arena with a 10-year, $13.5 million agreement in April. Operated by the Kentucky State Fair Board, the facility features a 7,000-square-foot concourse restaurant overlooking the Ohio River, two first-aid stations, nine escalators, 27 permanent concession stands and 61 restrooms. It sits within walking distance of 4,200 hotel rooms.

The KFC Yum! Center will host the 2012 NCAA Div. I Women’s Volleyball Championship and regional play in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Lady Gaga (March 12), Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus (March 31-April 3), George Strait (April 9), Cirque Du Soleil (June 6-12) and Taylor Swift (July 2) will follow the UFC into the venue.
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