U of L is in its 54th and final season in tradition-rich Freedom Hall.
Situated on the massive Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Freedom Hall was refurbished and refined in 1984 to increase its seating capacity from 16,613 to 18,865.
The approximate $13.3 million renovation of the 54-year-old, state-owned facility began April 2, 1984. Lower arena seating and the ceiling were torn out and renovation crews removed some 10,000 square feet of dirt to lower the arena floor about 10 feet.
The resulting renovation project has provided the Cardinals with a showcase for college basketball at its best. In addition to added seating, among the structural improvements were a $750,000 lighting system that is daylight balanced, a $225,000 sound system, a new ceiling, a reinforced roof and a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Also included are 24 private boxes located between the lower arena and loge seats. A new scoreboard system and video wall setup was installed in 1994.
Other features included in the renovation that accompany the arena are a press room, locker rooms and coaches' offices for the Cardinals and visiting teams, a president's reception room and two plush VIP lounges.
The multi-purpose facility was the site of the 2001 and 2003 Conference USA Basketball Tournaments. Freedom Hall also housed nine Metro Conference Basketball Tournaments (1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993 and 1995).
Six NCAA Finals have been staged in Freedom Hall, home of the University of Louisville basketball team since 1956. The 1976 NCAA Midwest Regional was held there in addition to the first and second rounds of the 1983 NCAA Midwest Regional. The NCAA Southeast Regional was played there in 1987. U of L also
hosted the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Southeast Regional in 1991.
Freedom Hall's facelift provided new record crowds for the Cards. The largest crowd in the facility was the 20,091 group that witnessed U of L's Jan. 21, 2006 game against third-ranked Connecticut, a game which also served as a backdrop for ESPN's College Gameday. The biggest crowd prior to the renovation was 17,661 against Cincinnati on Feb. 22, 1969.
Freedom Hall surpassed the 12 million mark in attendance for U of L basketball games in 2009. Last year, the Cards ranked fifth nationally in home attendance with a 19,397 average in 18 games, the 34th consecutive year U of L has ranked among the nation's top ten, including 28 straight in the top five. U of L averaged a record 19,591 in 1996-97.
In addition to college basketball, Freedom Hall has served as a site of the state high school basketball tournament, all-star contests and various concerts and conventions. The facility was originally designed for just one event - the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show, considered the world championship for show horses.
Large signs, flags or banners are not permitted in the facility. No signs, flags or banners of any size may be affixed to the facility. Items that can be held by one individual, reflect good sportsmanship and do not block the view of other ticketed patrons may be permitted.
Individuals may not bring alcoholic beverages, bottles, cans or containers, laser pointers, irritants, cowbells, air horns, electronic instruments, noisemakers, inflatable noisemakers, video cameras or strobe lights, onto the premise without the written permission of the NCAA. Promotional items (e.g., shakers cups, flags) with commercial slogans or identification are not allowed without the permission of the NCAA. The NCAA reserves the right to prohibit additional items at any time.
Video cameras and still photo cameras are permitted on open practice day. Video cameras are not permitted on game days.