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Takeways: Estes talks season restart, national exposure

By LouCity Communications, 06/24/20, 9:30AM EDT


Lynn Family Stadium could be in line for some broadcast TV time when play resumes.

Louisville City FC president Brad Estes on Tuesday joined host Terry Meiners on his popular News Radio 840 WHAS show to discuss welcoming fans to Lynn Family Stadium and much more ahead of the USL Championship season's restart.

"We're ready to get going," Estes told Meiners. "This office is buzzing right now."

Here's what we learned...

Will the first game at Lynn Family Stadium feature proper opening ceremonies, or will that wait for later in front of a larger crowd?

"We feel like we need to wait on that," Estes said. "There are a lot of fans who have been with us from the beginning, and we feel like most of those fans, if not all of those fans, will be able to be there on day one. But we want to be able to have 15,000 people in that stadium when we have our grand opening festivities, and we don't just want to have a soccer game when we have those festivities. We want a big party. We want tailgating before, and we want a party afterwards. We feel like the right thing to do is to wait until we can do all those things."

Is the National Women's Soccer League franchise launch still on schedule for 2021?

"It is, and we'll be coming out with some announcements on that in the next few weeks as well," Estes said. "It's a good problem to have when you've got all kinds of things you're announcing. We're trying to fit it in (public relations) windows. But we're going to be announcing some branding. You're going to get to see colors and logos and things of that nature, which we're really excited about."

The team's practicing in some capacity. How are they doing it?

"They're very, very careful about how they're doing it at this point," Estes said. "Our coaches and our partners at Baptist Health have done a really good job of putting together protocols for them to be able to train in small groups. (Wednesday) is the first day our league has allowed full-sided training, so tomorrow the team will be training altogether. I know they're really excited to do that. They were happy just to get back on the field a few weeks ago, but doing it in groups of five or so is not the same as playing full-sided soccer."

How far are we from a game?

"It could be as early as July 11 or that weekend, so we hope to know that later this week so we can properly plan -- get the building ready and put on a good show," Estes said. "The league is trying to work a deal to have some games nationally broadcast that weekend, and we hope to be a part of that. So we have a lot of work to do between now and then."

(Meiners) noticed social media recognition of Honorary Owners.

"A few weeks ago, we released options for folks who had season tickets in 2020," Estes said. "We gave three options, and the first option was you could leave your money in the club without regard for how many games you were going to get to see this year. That was when we didn't know how many games we'd have or if we had fans. That group of people said even if I don't get to come see a game, you can keep my money for this year. Use it to cover the pay roll and everything else you have going on.

"Part of that benefit is they are now referred to as Honorary Owners. We will create a wall in their honor at the stadium, and there are some other perks that come along with it. It's humbling to see that group of people that have been with us for so long, even during these hard times, say, 'I could use that money, but we know you can use it as well -- that your costs haven't gone down during this period and you can keep my money to pay your players and your staff.' It was a really humbling week or so to see those responses come in."

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