Louisiana State University

New arena plan moves forward for Louisiana State University

March 18, 2024
The Baton Rouge city-parish government has passed an ordinance that would limit the competition the arena would face from other entertainment venues.

A plan to build an arena in Baton Rouge for Louisiana State University sports and concerts is moving forward after the city-parish Metro Council passed an ordinance that would limit the competiton the facility would face from other venues.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that ordinance would limit live music and entertainment events at the Raising Cane’s River Center in downtown Baton Rouge to 3,500 attendees for the next 30 years.

The River Center arena would be redeveloped to cater to conventions, and a new hotel attached to the property will be constructed.

LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation, the private arm of the university’s athletic program, plans to build a new on-campus arena costing between $350 million and $400 million with up to 13,000 seats.

The new arena would replace the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which opened in 1972, and house the city’s large concerts.

But to carry out the plan, city-parish officials were asked to limit potential competition between the River Center and the proposed arena by capping attendance at River Center events.

Sporting events like hockey will have a separate cap of 8,500 attendees, and the newly renovated River Center theater with 1,999 seats and exhibition hall are exempt from the requirement.

The city-parish has spent at least $30 million on the River Center over the past decade, including replacing seating in 2023 and renovating the theater in 2022.

The Tiger Athletic Foundation has already selected two undisclosed finalists to develop the project before putting out a request for proposals. The chosen developer is expected to pay for construction costs in exchange for building ownership and revenue from events other than LSU sports.

LSU and athletic foundation officials have estimated that the arena will open in about five years.

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