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Cardinal Stadium

See also University of Phoenix Stadium for the current home of the Arizona Cardinals football team.
Cardinal Stadium
"Fairgrounds Stadium"
Former names Fairgrounds Stadium (1956-1982)
Location 937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209
Owner Kentucky Exposition Center
Operator Kentucky Exposition Center
Capacity 47,925
Stage Set-up: 19,901
End Stage Set-up: 47,925
Football: 36,103
Baseball: 19,901
Field size Baseball:
Left Field - 360 feet (110 m)
Center Field - 405 feet (123 m)
Right Field - 312 feet (95 m)
Surface AstroTurf
Opened 1956
Louisville Cardinals football (NCAA) (1957-1997)
Louisville Cardinals baseball (NCAA) (1957-2005)
Louisville Raiders (UFL) (1960-1962)
Louisville Colonels (IL) (1968-1972)
Kentucky Trackers (AFA) (1979-1980)
Louisville Redbirds/RiverBats (AA/IL) (1982-1999)
Kentucky State Fair (1998-present)
Kentucky Xtreme (CIFL) (practice only) (2012-2015)

Cardinal Stadium is the name of a former college and minor league baseball and college football stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. It is on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center, and was called Fairgrounds Stadium when it first opened for an NFL exhibition football game between the Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Eagles on September 9, 1956.[1]

The lone Bluegrass Bowl was held here in 1958. Cardinal Stadium was home to the Louisville Raiders football team from 1960 through 1962. It was the home to two minor league baseball teams in Louisville: the Louisville Colonels in 1968-1972 and the Louisville Redbirds in 1982-1999. It was to be the home of the American League Kansas City Athletics when their owner Charles O. Finley signed a contract to move the team to Louisville in 1964, but the American League owners voted against the move.[2][3] The Kentucky Trackers of the AFA played at Cardinal Stadium 1979-1980. It also served as the home of the University of Louisville football team from 1957-1997 and their baseball team 1998-2004. It was also used heavily as a high school football stadium, hosting state championship games from 1964-2002, including hosting all four state championship games played annually 1979-2002. Several local schools also played some games in Cardinal Stadium prior to 1998, including the annual St. Xavier-Trinity rivalry featuring the two major boys Catholic high schools in the city.

Cardinal Stadium from a distance

The stadium was renamed Cardinal Stadium in 1982 when the Louisville Redbirds of the American Association, the AAA team of the St. Louis Cardinals, became co-tenants of the stadium.

The stadium is now largely vacant, with its primary use as a venue for music concert and automotive events occurring during the Kentucky State Fair. This is due to the University's football team moving into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 1998. In 2000 the Redbirds moved to Louisville Slugger Field in 2000. The University's baseball team moved into Jim Patterson Stadium in 2005.

Outside of the concerts for the Kentucky State Fair, the Rolling Stones played a concert at Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 19, 1989, as part of the Steel Wheels Tour. Living Color opened for the legendary rock band. Boy band N'Sync performed at Cardinal Stadium on Aug. 10, 2001, as part of the PopOdyssey Tour.

From 2001-2003, the Bands of America Louisville Regional Championships were held at the stadium.

Local proposals included the demolition of Cardinal Stadium in order to build a new arena, as part of the long term push to build a new indoor-facility to replace the aging Freedom Hall, which is also at the Exposition Center. However, this possibility became moot with the 2010 opening of the downtown KFC Yum! Center and continued use of Freedom Hall as a venue for concerts and smaller sporting events. The most recent plans from the Kentucky State Fair Board seek to demolish this facility to build an outdoor amphitheater with permanent seating for 12,000. On April 26, 2013, The Kentucky State Fair Board stated that the seating in the stadium was unstable for people to sit in. Seating was placed on the field for concerts at the 2013 and 2014 Kentucky State Fair.

Demolition of the most unsafe portions of the stadium began on November 17, 2014.[4]

Interior 2008
Football Stands 2008

See also


  1. ^ Trouppers, Gerti. The Tiger Gridiron Record. p. 66.  
  2. ^ "Finley Signs Contract to Transfer Athletics to Louisville", New York Times, 1964-01-06, retrieved 2008-04-29 
  3. ^ John Drebinger (1964-01-18). "Finley Will Open in Kansas City, But Promises Court Action Soon". New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Old Cardinal Stadium Demolition Begins Today". WKMS. 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 

External links

  • Minor League Ballparks page on Cardinal Stadium
  • Info about the stadium, with some candid comments
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