Louisville Lands $41M Naming Rights Deal for Cardinal Stadium

Andy Berg Headshot
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium After Expansion In 2010
By Perthsider - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21369444

The University of Louisville has inked a 20-year, $41 million deal with L&N Federal Credit Union for the naming rights to Cardinal Stadium. 

The deal fills the naming rights void for Cardinal Stadium after the school cuts ties in 2018 with Louisville-based pizza chain Papa John's. The school dropped the Papa John's name and logo after the chain's founder, John Schattner, used a racial slur during a company conference call. In October of 2019, the school agreed to pay Schattner $9.5 million over five years to terminate the naming rights deal it had with Papa John's. 

Louisville athletic director Josh Heird said during a press conference that the school had talked to local, regional and national companies before realizing L&N might be interested in the deal. 

“This is one of those stories that sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose," Heird said, according to the Associated Press. "Fortunately for us, when the conversation was had, they didn’t say no.”

L&N already has its name on Denny Crum Hall, the arena of Cardinals women's volleyball. The company was founded in 1954 on the current stadium site to serve L&N Railroad workers in Louisville. An original train horn from the site is sounded after the Cardinals score a touchdown.

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