KFC Yum! Center needs UL fans to show

Picture this. Louisville moves into the brand new KFC Yum! Center, and for some reason, the team's games are no longer a hot ticket. There are plenty of empty seats during big games for whatever reason, whether it's because of the economy or something else that leads to a lack of support for the program.

Louisville fans wouldn't dream of this alternate reality, right? Well good, because the arena is counting on all this not happening since downtown sales tax revenue projections are reportedly falling short of helping cover the arena debt.

Standard & Poor's credit analyst Aneesh Prabhu indicated to The Courier-Journal, that support from Cardinals fans could become a necessary element in the arena's financing.

Prabhu said that the tax plan is the most uncertain portion of the arena financing, but he expects said the arena will meet its revenue projections as long as there's not a drop-off in support for the University of Louisville's basketball teams -- the arena's main tenants.

"The arena benefits from the fact that unlike any other city this is really the only game in town," he said.

Lagging fan support for Louisville isn't at all likely given the program has consistently ranked in the nation's top 10 in home attendance.

But for the financial health of the arena that has been made questionable due to the recession, the hope is that the fans will also give the surrounding area an economic boost.

"All we can do at this stage, since it’s now ready to open, is to hope and pray that the business that is stimulated around the arena will generate the money that is anticipated," Kentucky state representative Jim Wayne told The Courier-Journal.

After all, the 10-year, $13.5 million naming rights deal that gave the arena its KFC Yum! name can only help pay a portion of the debt.