Derby season is in full swing, and Louisville ASM Global-managed venues, The KFC Yum! Center, Lynn Family Stadium and Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center, have all stepped up to bring more entertainment options to local residents and visitors than ever before.
The Louisville Initiative is part of ASM Global Acts, which is designed to dramatically elevate the company’s commitment to strengthen local communities around the globe.
“Hosting an annual event that garners worldwide attention affords Louisville the opportunity to host the largest economic impact generator of the year throughout the Kentucky Derby season,” says Cleo Battle, president and CEO, Louisville Tourism. “Our Derby hats are off to our partners at ASM Global for offering events that complement an exciting week and offer even more opportunities to drive a diverse audience into Louisville to experience the city at this most special time of year.”
While ASM Global’s Louisville venues generally host hundreds of events annually, the company has really increased its presence for Derby week this year thanks to major recording artists, VIP parties and a free community event featuring two of the biggest NFL players to ever come from the University of Louisville’s football program. This is only possible due to the rapid growth ASM Global has had in the Louisville market over the past two years with the opening of the Lynn Family Stadium and Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center and the support of the local community.
“We are eager to bring new entertainment options to Louisville and give fans additional ways to celebrate Derby week,” says Eric Granger, ASM Global’s general manager for all three venues. “We are proud to work with a variety of live entertainment companies who are passionate about our community and excited to bring these new entertainment options to Louisville.”
The Derby week excitement kicks off Saturday, April 30, when Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater return to Louisville for the Derby City Reunion Weekend at the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center. The family-oriented event features Jackson, Bridgewater and other high-profile athletes with special connections to Louisville.
And the excitement continues with the Louisville Urban League Gala featuring the Isley Brothers on Wednesday, May 4, at the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center followed by the Taste of Derby VIP event at the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday, May 5. And the week of events culminate on Derby Day, after the big race with Arts, Beats and Lyrics at the KFC Yum! Center, Kevin Gates at the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center and Janet Jackson and New Edition at Lynn Family Stadium, marking the first time ever that a music event has been held at the soccer stadium.
What’s even more unique about these events, local promoters are behind the action and were critical in bringing these events to Louisville. Kevin Gates’ promoter, Dante Walker, has dreamed of bringing a major show to the Derby scene for years; and thanks to the team at ASM Global, he’s able to do that.
“Royal Creationz is excited to bring a major act to Louisville on Derby day. This has always been a dream of mine personally,” says Walker, owner of Royal Creationz. “Being born and raised in Louisville, Derby weekend has always been very special to me. To play a larger role in the Derby day festivities is a huge accomplishment and something I take great pride in. I am grateful for this partnership with ASM Global and look forward to welcoming thousands of Kevin Gates fans to the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center on May 7.”
Granger adds: “More than ever, we are grateful for the community’s continued support of our venues and the entertainers and athletes who play there.”