By Matt Bradshaw —
Construction projects have become synonymous with the growing campus that is U of L. At football’s home opener Sept. 8, fans will enter a $63 million project that hopes to serve as Louisville athletics’s best facility: Cardinal Stadium.
Along with the $80 million Academic Building and $40 million SAC renovation, the expansion of Cardinal Stadium represents a large leap forward for the campus. Each of the projects are a long time in the making and finally coming to completion.
Here’s a list of some of the things fans can expect from their new and improved stadium.
With the addition of 6,000 seats, the total capacity of Cardinal Stadium currently sits at about 60,000.
These seats provide a unique backdrop to the end zone, filling a space that used to seem empty. Now, the gridiron will be completely surrounded by fans in an oval shape typical of most football stadiums.
Despite the bump in capacity, U of L still stands nowhere near the behemoths of college football. In fact, Cardinal Stadium does not even scrape the top 25 largest college stadiums in the country.
Louisville’s first opponent this season, Alabama, has a venue with the seventh largest carrying capacity in the nation (101,821). The University of Michigan tops the list (107,601) and the University of Iowa sits at number 25 (70,585).
Still, the Cardinals have come a long way since 1998 when the stadium first opened with a capacity of 42,000.
Massive videoboards will further enhance the game day experience, installed at the north and south ends of the stadium.
Two 40-foot by 80-foot LED videoboards were placed at the north end, and a 24-foot by 92-foot videoboard was placed at the south end.
Along with 8,000 square feet of ribbon boards, the screens are sure to provide an immersive and detailed experience for fans. We can expect an exciting entrance for the team at the beginning of games, provided by the videoboards and state-of-the-art light system.
At most sporting events these days, fans have come to expect overpriced food and drinks. With the help of athletic director Vince Tyra, Cardinal Stadium will take a step in the family-friendly direction.
In a radio interview, Tyra explained a deal with Centerplate that would create a $3 menu at concession stands in the stadium. Centerplate is the vendor for food and beverage products at the stadium.
The menu does not comprise a wide range of foods, but it does represent a cheaper price for those needing a fair concessions experience. Bottled water, 20 oz. soft drinks, hot dogs, soft pretzels and popcorn are items on the menu.
You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.
Photo by Matt Bradshaw / The Louisville Cardinal