KFC Yum! Center serves up $1 billion treat



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KFC Yum! Center with huge economic impact Image: ASM Global

KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, has provided a tasty near-$1 billion total in economic impact in less than a decade.

A study conducted by Hunden Partners for Louisville Tourism found that the economic impact of the arena over the last nine fiscal years of the venue’s operation is $942 million, averaging $122 million annually.*

Louisville’s premier sports and entertainment venue is a state-of-the-art arena that is owned by the Louisville Arena Authority and managed by ASM Global.

The 22,000 seat arena is home to the University of Louisville men’s and women’s basketball programs and attracts several top grossing concerts and events annually.

A previous study commissioned by Louisville Tourism for the first four years the venue was in operation shows the KFC Yum! Center contributed approximately $581 million in economic impact from 2010 to 2014.

Louisville Arena Authority Chair Leslie Geoghegan said, “The findings of the study by Hunden Partners validates for Louisville Tourism, the Louisville Area Authority, ASM Global and other stakeholders that the value proposition envisioned for the arena in 2005 continues to hold true.

“The results demonstrate the return on investment for our partners – the State, Metro Louisville and the University of Louisville – with the significant economic impact that the KFC Yum! Center has on the Louisville community. We are excited to see its continued success into the future.”

Louisville Tourism President and CEO Cleo Battle added, “Understanding the impact of one of the city’s largest venues for hosting events helps identify what some of the key drivers of tourism are to Louisville.

“We will use the information gleaned from this report to deploy marketing strategies that will help Louisville grow our record visitation of 19 million in 2019 to 25 million by 2030.”
 

By the numbers

  • The KFC Yum! Center generated an average $29.1 million in annual earnings supporting an average of 584 full-time jobs annually just within the Louisville Metro area.
  • More than $58.5 million in taxes were generated by the KFC Yum! Center and its visitors, representing an average of $7.6 million annually.*
  • During the nine-year period between FY 2015 and 2023, the facility has generated nearly $942 million in total spending within the Louisville economy, or an average of $122 million per year.*
  • Approximately 54 percent of visits to the facility came from outside of Jefferson County, while 25 percent of spending came from outside of Kentucky.
  • The total number of events hosted at the KFC Yum! Center has rebounded to 84 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

 
Several factors cited in the study have led to the continued success of the KFC Yum! Center.

  • The Louisville Arena Authority leveraged ASM Global, the world’s leading venue-management company and producer of live events and experiences, to conduct a 30-year capital improvement plan based on the useful life of various assets. The plan identifies annual improvements to the arena with the intent of keeping the KFC Yum! Center a state-of-the-art venue that will continue to attract top sporting and entertainment events.
  • The KFC Yum! Center, with a capacity of 22,090, is the largest arena within a 400-mile radius and the fifth largest arena in the nation. This adds a value proposition for touring artists looking to attract large crowds. The venue regularly hosts the largest selling concert of an artist’s entire tour.
  • In 2021, the KFC Yum! Center completed an $8 million renovation that included video, audio and broadcast upgrades, as well as concession and carpeting updates.

 
The KFC Yum! Center continues to attract top-tier talent to Louisville and remains one of the region’s most significant forces in driving economic growth.

The 22,090 seat arena has hosted approximately 115 events per year, ranging from national concert tours with top-selling artists, major sporting events and University of Louisville basketball games to graduations, conventions and more.

Notable events over the past decade include Morgan Wallen’s concert in April 2023, which posted the venue’s largest grossing ticket sales ever, as well as sold-out shows featuring acts like Elton John, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Eric Church, Guns N Roses, P!NK and many more.

Exciting sporting events such as the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball Tournaments, Professional Bull Riding, USA Gymnastics Championships and more continue to drive attendance and revenue at the arena.

*Numbers exclude the pandemic years FY 2020 and 2021

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