The University of Louisville had already announced plans to revitalize the seats inside Cardinal Stadium — but a new sponsorship agreement was just announced that will help finance the project.
The school will restore approximately 37,800 seats to their original red after fading to a pink hue over years of deferred maintenance. The Louisville Courier Journal reports that the project will now be financed by online retailer Zappos.com, which announced a $1.5 million commitment payable over five years to cover the upgrades. In exchange, the stadium’s field-level suites will carry the Zappos name.
Justin Brown, Zappos’ senior director of operations, is a Louisville native and attended games at Cardinal Stadium.
Athletic director Vince Tyra, announcing the agreement at a press conference Thursday, said that the seats won’t be restored in time for the Cardinals’ season opener Sept. 2, but urged fans to be patient.
“Fans would love for (the seats) all to be red tomorrow,” he said. “But it’s a labor-intensive process (to) water blast them and to sand them and fire them up with heat and coat them.”
The restoration process will provide the seats with added UV protection, which should help slow the fading process in the future. The seat restoration was more cost-effective than replacement, which the Courier Journal reports would have carried an estimated $6.5 million price tag.