Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
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Year Opened: 1998 | Field Surface: Artificial Turf
Louisville played in Cardinal Stadium from 1957-97 on the grounds of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Papa John's founder John Schnatter, a native of nearby Jeffersonville, Ind., donated $5 million for naming rights to the new stadium, which opened in 1998 at a cost of $63 million. The facility took the name Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Because its title comes from a pizza company, the stadium is referred to as "The Oven."
The stadium, built with a capacity of 42,000, was expanded to 55,000 in 2010 at a cost of $72 million. The seating scheme can be expanded to fit more than 80,000.
The stadium's Brown and Williamson Club, located at the back of the press box, allows for multiple events, including banquets and weddings, and is often host to featured speakers in the city.
According to the university, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is the only stadium in the country that has chair-back seats (no bleacher seats) for every seat in the stadium. The Norton Terrace connects the east and west sides of the stadium with a 60-foot-wide concourse that offers a view of the field.
The cardinal is the state bird of Kentucky and was chosen as the school's mascot in 1913. About 10 minutes before kickoff, the costumed Cardinal mascot parachutes into the stadium, trying to land as close to midfield as possible.
As the Louisville team is introduced, players emerge from the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex and touch the statue of former Cardinals palyer and NFL Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas in the end zone before running on the field as the band plays "O Fortuna."
The Card March into the stadium begins two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff. The team, band and cheerleaders walk among fans from the Green Lot parking area into the stadium.
The Victory Lap began at old Cardinal Stadium in 1990 and continues today. After each triumph, players walk around the stadium and high-five fans.
The winner of the Louisville-Kentucky football game is awarded the Governor's Cup. The teams first played in 1912, but the Governor's Cup has only been awarded annual since 1994, with Louisville leading the series 9-8 since that time.
Source: University of Louisville
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