LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has reached a 20-year, $41 million agreement with L&N Federal Credit Union through 2042 to rename its Cardinal Stadium home football field.
The 25-year-old, 60,800-seat stadium had been without a title sponsor since 2018, when the school dropped the name and logo of Louisville-based pizza chain Papa John’s amid fallout from a report that founder John Schnatter used a racial slur during a company conference call. The University of Louisville Athletic Association agreed in October 2019 to pay Schnatter $9.5 million over five-plus years in a settlement to terminate naming rights. A final $2 million payment is due this summer.
Louisville athletic director Josh Heird said during a news conference on Monday that the school had talked with local, regional and national companies before realizing L&N could be interested.
Heird added, “This is one of those stories that sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose. … Fortunately for us, when the conversation was had, they didn’t say no.”
L&N’s name is already on the nearby home arena for Louisville’s women’s volleyball and Denny Crum Hall, a dormitory that opened last fall to honor the Hall of Fame former men’s basketball coach.
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.
L&N CEO/President Chris Brown said the company was thrilled and honored for the opportunity to partner with Louisville in a release and added, “this long-term commitment strengthens our relationship.”