KENTUCKY EXPOSITION CENTER
KENTUCKY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
MORE THAN 120 PARKS
ICONIC SPORTS ATTRACTIONS
We will help you succeed, it's part of our culture.
Bring your sporting event to Louisville, we'll help you celebrate success. We do it on a regular basis. We understand and embrace security, transportation, logistics, people comforts - and fun. It's part of our social fabric, ingrained in our culture.
We have quality facilities, abundant hotels, lots of things to do around town and a great attitude.
Since the Kentucky Derby is the oldest, continuously run sporting event in America - begun in 1875 - we've been in the sports event business longer than any city in the US. The late Col. Matt Winn, empresario and longtime president of Churchill Downs who is credited with creating the Derby mystique, understood experiencial sports marketing and entertainment way before anyone else.
And with the award winning Derby Festival, the largest festival organization in North America, this community managed to turn a two-minute horse race into a two week party. Not only have we been at it longer than anyone else, we have developed a knack for embracing events.
The Derby Begat, The Breeders' Cup, The Ryder Cup and PGA Championships.....
Churchill Downs is the only seven-time host of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, two days of racing that attract the best Thoroughbreds from North America and Europe. It's coming back this November because racing is in our blood and embracing sporting events is second nature. With decades of experience getting it right with the Derby, is it surprising that four of the largest crowds in Breeder's Cup history were here in Louisville?
Stay with us on this next step.
After Dwight Gahm and his sons developed Valhalla Golf Club, they joined community officials to entertain PGA of America executives at the Kentucky Derby in hopes of bringing a major golf championship to Louisville. Great job, guys.
In 1996, the first year the PGA Championships was held in Louisville, the event sold out… for the first time… ever...and more than a year in advance. That’s why the PGA bought Valhalla and keeps coming back with events like the 2000 and 2014 PGA Championships, 2004 and 2011 Senior PGA Championships and the 2008 Ryder Cup. What’s so special about our city?
Just ask 2008 US Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger. "Louisville is amazing," Azinger said. "The first time I came here, I knew we would bring the Ryder Cup Trophy back to the US because the energy in this community would carry over to our team. And did Louisville ever deliver." Did we mention that the USA defeated Europe 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 at Valhalla?
Or ask PGA championships director Ben Rubin. “The thing is, Louisville knows how to run big events. Everything is in place, thanks to events like the Kentucky Derby, to ensure that any event can be a big success in Louisville,” says Rubin. “In a lot of cities, you run into red tape all over the place, but red tape just doesn’t exist in Louisville. They say, 'What can we do to help you succeed?' and whatever you need, they make it happen.”
Ford Ironman Triathlon
Finding the right location to hold the Ford Ironman triathlon is a pretty big challenge. Finding the right location for the world's largest Ironman is a bigger challenge. It’s not just a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, full marathon and a picnic in the park. It's days of practice and preparation, a three-day expo, a welcome dinner and an awards dinner and tremendous attention to detail. It requires tons of volunteers to help pull it off. It's intense. That’s why Louisville is the perfect place for the event. “Louisville is one of my favorites,” says Joanna Meyers, World Triathlon Corporation Event Director. “It’s not easy to put on an Ironman in a downtown area, but the way Louisville is laid out, and just everything the city has to offer, makes it the perfect location. And people in Louisville bend over backwards to help us get it right.”
Oh, and did they say Ford Ironman Louisville is the world's largest Ironman? You’re makin’ us blush.
Let’s get ready to rumble! Okay, so that’s not the kind of sport we’re talking about here, but we’re just so excited about all of the championships Louisville has the opportunity to host, we had to shout. 2010 brought the NCAA Div. II Fall Festival to Louisville, which included six championships crowned in one weekend for Men's and Women's Soccer and Cross Country, Volleyball and Field Hockey.
The following NCAA Championship events will also be held in Louisville:
NCAA Div. I National Championships 2011 Field Hockey (third time), 2012 Women's Volleyball, 2012 Men's and Women's Cross Country, along with the 2012 Div. I NCAA Men’s Basketball 2nd and 3rd round. As of July 16, 2011, Louisville will also be hosting the NCAA Div. II 2012 National Championship in the spring. Men's and Women's golf, tennis, and lacrosse championships will be taking place on May 15-19, 2012. Including these six events in the spring, Louisville will have hosted 16 NCAA National Championships. Our self-proclaimed quote, "Best College Sports Town in the Country," is not just a figment of our imagination. We really are a Championship City! Just ask the 800 student-athletes that participated in the NCAA Div. II Fall Festival.
Louisville has some great sports facilities. The Kentucky Exposition Center is the 6th largest public facility of its kind with 1.3 million square feet of versatile and flexible space. It has hosted events such as USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Girls & Boys Championship, the U.S. Transplant Games, and the Dew Action Sports Tour. Every year it's the site of the World Championship Horse Show during the Kentucky State Fair as well as the World Championship Tractor Pull in mid-winter.
Freedom Hall has hosted more NCAA Div. I Men's Final Four basketball tournaments than any facility anywhere. (OK, not since 1967.)
The Kentucky International Convention Center, in downtown Louisville, is connected to 2,300 hotel rooms, has over 300,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space and has hosted multiple events including the USA Gymnastics Acrobatic Gymnastics Nationals and the NCAA Div. II Elite Eight Basketball Championships.
But how about the brand spanking new KFC Yum! Center? This state of the art arena opened October 2010 in the heart of downtown Louisville. Seating 22,708 and featuring over 700,000 square feet of space, no wonder it was awarded the NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Second & Third Round and NCAA Div. I Women’s Volleyball Championships while still a hole in the ground.
City of Parks
With its signature spaces designed by the famous urban greenspace planner Frederick Law Olmsted - the same guy that designed New York City's Central Park - urban Louisville is home to over 120 parks. Metro Parks have many things to offer to sports lovers, including: The Louisville Extreme Park, a skate park with 40,000 sq. ft. of concrete skating surface, a wooden vert ramp and a 24 ft full-pipe; Eva Bandman Park, the premiere public cyclocross venue in the United States; and Cherokee Park, which has hosted several US Cycling Masters Championships.
But wait, there's more.
How about a modern suburban park space? The Parklands of Floyd's Fork www.21cparks.com will be a systemic, world-class addition to Louisville’s parks system that includes four major parks linked by a park drive, a world-class urban trail system, and a remarkable water trail, all tracing Floyds Fork, a classic Kentucky stream. The park encompasses nearly 4000 acres of preserved lands in the last undeveloped corridor of our community. The public/private project is unique in the region and unlike anything currently in development across the country. This is a city-shaping model for the world to follow.
And we have a great waterfront along the Ohio River. The Ford Ironman Triathlon and Rodes City Run are among the vast sporting activities the Louisville Waterfront Park www.louisvillewaterfront.com has to offer. With 85 acres of space for any sporting activity you can imagine, anything is possible here.
In 2013, the UCI Elite Cyclocross World Championships will be held outside of Europe for the first time in its 60+ year history… and it’s going to be held in Louisville. That’s a pretty big honor, wouldn’t you say? The U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross was also held in Louisville in 2010. What makes Louisville so special you may ask? Joan Hanscom, the U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross Series event director says, “Whatever they undertake, they commit fully to it, and they do a great job. It’s been very rewarding working with them.” Aw shucks, you shouldn't have.
When considering a venue for your sporting event, consider this:
- Louisville hosted the 37th Ryder Cup, one of the most prestigious golfing events in the world.
- Louisville has hosted the Kentucky Derby, the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States, for 138 consecutive years.
- Louisville has hosted 4 NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournaments, 7 NCAA Elite Eight Tournaments, and college conference championship events, national and state high school tournaments and national amateur championship events too numerous to mention.
- 40,000 people filled Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to see The US Women's Soccer Team, the second largest crowd ever to watch a women's soccer game.
- Louisville holds 4 of the top 7 attendance figures in Breeder's Cup history.
- On the two occasions the PGA Championship has been held in Louisville, every available ticket was sold out a full year in advance.
- The largest attendance in USA Volleyball Girls National Championship and National Field Archery Tournament histories have been when the events where held in Louisville.
- 2012 NCAA Div. II Spring National Championships Festival
- Bulldog Classic Regional High School Track & Field Meet - annually
- NBL BMX Grand Nationals - annually
- Champions Derby Classic Gymnastics Tournament - annually
- Mason-Dixon Games - annually
- KHSAA State Volleyball, Swimming and Track & Field championships - annually
- JVDA National Volleyball Championships - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- USA Cycling Masters National Championships - 2008, 2009, 2010
- Ford Ironman Louisville - 2007-2010
- Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Louisville - 2007-2008
- 2010 NCAA Div. II Fall National Championships Festival
- Senior Games - 2007
- AAU 17 & Under Baseball National Championships - 2005-2007
- Breeders’ Cup - 1988, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2010
- US Transplant Games -2006
- Tri-America Triathlon Series - 2003-2006
- NAIA Cross Country National Championships - 2003-2006
- USAG Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championshipis - 2005
- NBC Dew Action Sports Tour - 2005
- NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships - 2004-2005
- USCF Masters Road National Championships - 2003
- LPGA Senior Women's Tour Event - 2005
- USATF 10 mile National Championship - 2003-2005
- USA Volleyball Girls NIT - 2002, 2005
- USA Volleyball Boys Junior Olympic National Championships - 2002, 2005
- NAIA Region XII Baseball Championships - 2001-2003
- Ohio Valley Conference Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championship - 2002
- Olympic Torch Relay Exhibition - 2001
- City of Louisville HockeyFest - 2001
- NAIA Baseball Super-Regional - 2001
- AAU Regional Track & Field Meet - 2001
- UCI/BMX World Cycling Championships - 2001
- Junior Olympic National Judo Championships - 2001
- USTA Southern Sectionals - 2001, 2002
- National Amateur Baseball Federation’s Annual Major Division World Series - 2000
- Nike Bluegrass Classic - 2000
- USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Girls National Championships - 2000
- USA vs. Australia Women’s Olympic Volleyball Exhibition - 2000
- Women’s Gold Cup Soccer - 2000