is a multipurpose arena
An arena is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the...
in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...
, on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center
The Kentucky Exposition Center , formerly Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center , is a large multi-use facility in Louisville, Kentucky, United States...
, which is owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...
. It is best known for its use as a basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...
arena, serving as the home of the University of Louisville Cardinals
The Louisville Cardinals are the athletic teams representing the University of Louisville. A member of the Big East Conference since 2005, they are known nationally as traditional powers in men's basketball, women's volleyball, and dance team...
The Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team is the 18th winningest college basketball team in NCAA Division I history and has the 10th best winning percentage in college basketball history. Currently coached by Rick Pitino, the Cardinals of the University of Louisville have been to 37 NCAA...
from 1956 to 2010, the Kentucky Colonels
The Kentucky Colonels were a member of the American Basketball Association for all of the league's nine years. The name is derived from the historic Kentucky colonels. The Colonels won the most games and had the highest winning percentage of any franchise in the league's history, but the team did...
of the American Basketball Association
The American Basketball Association was a professional basketball league founded in 1967. The ABA ceased to exist with the ABA–NBA merger in 1976.-League history:...
from 1970 until the ABA-NBA merger
The ABA–NBA merger was the merger of the American Basketball Association with the National Basketball Association, which after multiple attempts over several years finally occurred in 1976.- Origins of ABA-NBA competition :...
in June 1976, and the Louisville Cardinals women's team from its inception in 1975 to 2010. Although Freedom Hall's only regular tenant is the Kentucky Stickhorses
The Kentucky Stickhorses is an American professional indoor lacrosse team based in Louisville, Kentucky. They are a charter member of the North American Lacrosse League...
of the North American Lacrosse League
The North American Lacrosse League is a men's professional indoor lacrosse league based in the United States, set to begin play in January 2012. The league will be North America's third professional lacrosse league, after Major League Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League...
, it is still used regularly, hosting concerts, horse shows, conventions, and basketball games.
Freedom Hall was completed in 1956 in the newly opened Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center located 5 miles (8 km) south of Downtown Louisville
Downtown Louisville is the largest central business district in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the urban hub of the Louisville, Kentucky Metropolitan Area. Its boundaries are the Ohio River to the north, Hancock Street to the east, York and Jacob Streets to the south, and 9th Street to the west...
. Designed for the nation's premier equestrian competition, the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show
The World's Championship Horse Show, held at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in Louisville, Kentucky, in Freedom Hall, is a large horse show that includes the American saddlebred, Hackney pony, and Standardbred. It is usually held annually in late August, coinciding with the dates of the Kentucky...
, the floor length and permanent seating were designed specifically for the almost 300 feet (91.4 m)-long show ring (in comparison, a regulation hockey rink is 200 feet (61 m) long, and a basketball court is only 94 feet). The North American International Livestock Exposition
North American International Livestock Exposition is a livestock show held each November in Louisville, Kentucky and lasts for two weeks. It is billed as the "world's largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition", with nine major livestock divisions with competitors from the 48 contiguous states...
also is held there each November.
In 1984 the facility was refurbished, including lowering the floor to allow maximum capacity to increase from 16,664 to 18,865 for basketball. It has been the full time home of Cardinal men's basketball since the 1957/58 season, with the team winning 82% of home games in 50 seasons. U of L has ranked in the Top 5 in attendance for the past 25 years, with 16 of the past 19 years averaging more than 100% of capacity.
In addition to being the home of the Cardinals, Freedom Hall has hosted NCAA Tournament
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball...
games ten times, including six Final Four
Final Four isa sports term that is commonly applied to the last four teams remaining in a playoff tournament, most notably NCAA Division I college basketball tournaments. The term usually refers to the four teams who compete in the two games of a single-elimination tournament's semi-final round...
s between 1958 and 1969. The arena has also hosted 11 conference tournaments, nine Metro Conference
The Metropolitan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, popularly known as the Metro Conference, was an NCAA Division I athletics conference, so named because all of its charter members were in urban metropolitan areas in, or at least on the fringes of, the Southern United States...
Tournaments and two Conference USA
Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports...
tournaments—2001 and 2003. It has also hosted the Kentucky Boys' High School State Basketball Tournament
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association boys' and girls' state basketball championships are single elimination tournaments held each March featuring 16 high schools. Colloquially known as the Sweet Sixteen , the tournament takes place over 4 days at Lexington's Rupp Arena for the boys until...
(also known as the Sweet 16) 23 times, including every year from 1965-1978. In 1984, the floor of the arena was lowered about 10 feet (3 m) to increase the capacity of the arena from 16,613 to its current figure. In the 1996-97 season Freedom Hall averaged an attendance of 19,590 surpassing arena capacity. Freedom Hall hosts the Championship tractor pull every February during the National Farm Machinery Show.
In November 2008 the Louisville Fire
The Louisville Fire was an arena football team that played its home games at the Brown-Forman Field in Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. They were a 2001 expansion team of the af2. Their owner/operator was former Pro Bowl lineman and Louisville native Will Wolford. The team was somewhat...
AF2 was the name of the Arena Football League's developmental league; it was founded in 1999 and played its first season in 2000. Like parent AFL, the AF2 played using the same arena football rules and style of play. League seasons ran from April through July with the postseason and ArenaCup...
ceased operations. The Louisville Fire was an Arena Football team who played in Freedom Hall.
On the lower level is the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame" where an engraved bronze plaque honors each inductee.
The University of Louisville men's basketball team played their final game at Freedom Hall on March 6, 2010 against Syracuse University, the #1 ranked team in the nation. Louisville won 78-68. (Note: Louisville defeated Notre Dame 85-75 in their first-ever game at Freedom Hall in 1956. Both victories were a 10-point margin.)
| UofL Men's Basketball Attendance by Year
|| Average Attendance
|| Percent of capacity