With the announcement today that the new downtown Louisville basketball arena will be named after local corporation KFC Yum!, the artery-clogging conglomerate that brings you such tasty fare as Pizza Hut’s Meat Lovers Cheesy Bites pizza (460 calories per slice) and Taco Bell’s Volcano Nachos (1000 calories) in addition to the new gastronomic delight of chicken, bacon and cheese known as KFC’s Double Down (1,430 mg of sodium), you’ll forgive us if our burgeoning chest pain means we can’t muster the energy to cheer this latest encroachment of corporate America into college athletics.
Cardiologists throughout the area, however, put deposits down on additional properties in Mexico as Yum! will pay $13.5M over the next ten years for naming rights to the arena. The deal also gives the company as many as eight concession spots throughout the building, ensuring a steady stream of in-game revenue from the good citizens of what Men’s Fitness ranked as the tenth fattest city in America in 2009.
To their credit, the key principals in this deal are toeing the party line with their celebratory talking points. Jim Host, chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority, said with respect to this deal, “We’re just tickled to death with the way it worked out.” Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson added, “This is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top the icing.” Color us cynical, but these statements are no more coincidental than Rick Pitino finding the keys to Porcini’s at the bottom of his trousers pocket.
Luckily, Louisville officials have shown considerable foresight in this regard and have already covered all of their bases. We kid you not.
Now if that isn’t a classic example of rack ’em and stack ’em, then we don’t know our process improvement theory. Louisville will host defending national runner-up Butler on November 16, 2010, to christen the building. Over/under on fan visits to the Norton care center that night?