By Tate Luckey
It’s been approximately five years since the university parted ways with Cardinal Stadium’s Papa John’s sponsorship, and today its identity can finally begin anew: Cardinal Stadium is now to be known as L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium (or to some, L&N Stadium).
“We are thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to partner with the University of Louisville. We are proud to have the L&N name on the stadium as a visible sign of our commitment to the Louisville community and the University,”L&N CEO and President Chris Brown said.
“L&N has been a long-standing partner with the University and, ironically, the credit union had its start on the same site as the stadium in 1954. This long-term commitment strengthens our relationship into the future. We are aligned with Josh Heird’s vision and it’s our honor to be associated with a great program.”
The 20-year, $41.3 million dollar deal secures rights through 2042. L&N annual payments begin at $1.7 million this year, growing by 2% annually until reaching about $2.5 million in 2042. It’s among the top 3 most valuable college football stadium naming deals.
In 2018, then-president Neeli Bendapudi opted to part ways with Papa John’s founder John Schattner due to his use of a racial slur during a conference call. Last July, athletic director Josh Heird stated that the stadium’s new sponsor has to be “the right fit.”
“We don’t want somebody to just say, ‘Hey, let’s slap our name up on this stadium’. I would tell you that stadium means too much to us to just give it to, you know, whoever might want it. Let’s make sure that we create a comprehensive partnership,” he told WDRB.
The stadium site of the former South Louisville Rail Yard is also the original site of the credit union, founded in 1954 to serve L&N rail workers. The all-to-familiar horn you hear when Louisville scores a touchdown is the same horn used on the original site, too.
Now the real question: What do fans nickname it? The Fed? The L?
Photo Courtesy // Eric Crawford, WDRB //