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New LSU Arena Project Gains Momentum with Plans for Enhanced Sports and Entertainment Venue in Baton Rouge

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome

Baton Rouge, La. — In Baton Rouge, a collaborative effort led by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey is underway to address the city's need for a modern facility capable of accommodating both sports and entertainment events.

Recognizing the limitations of the existing River Center, Metro Council members and stakeholders are rallying behind a proposal to construct a cutting-edge arena that will elevate Baton Rouge's event hosting capabilities.

LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey

Metro councilman Rowdy Gaudet emphasized the inadequacy of the River Center's capacity, stressing the need for a venue that can attract larger-scale events to the city. As a response, the Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF) is taking charge of plans to develop a new arena that will set a new standard for sports and entertainment venues.

To ensure the success of the project, TAF is seeking assurances from the Metro Council regarding event bookings, proposing restrictions on events at the River Center that exceed 3,500 attendees. However, exceptions will be made for sports events, such as Zydeco hockey games, which are capped at 8,500 attendees.

Prominent members of the Metro Council, including Carolyn Coleman, have voiced their support for the initiative, citing the potential economic and cultural benefits of hosting large-scale entertainment events in Baton Rouge.

Mayor Broome hailed the project as an opportunity to bring significant parishwide benefits to the community. While the exact cost of the endeavor is yet to be determined, preliminary estimates suggest a budget exceeding $300 million, structured as a public-private partnership, with TAF taking the lead in securing funding.

In addition to the new arena, plans include repurposing the River Center into a dedicated convention hub, potentially complemented by the addition of a hotel to accommodate event attendees. The proposal is slated for public comment at an upcoming Metro Council meeting scheduled for March 13th.

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