New “Best-In-Class” LSU Sports Arena Planning Has Begun

The Tiger Athletic Foundation has started planning to build a new “best-in-class” arena for sports and entertainment on LSU’s campus to replace the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The plans include working with the local government to make it the city’s top venue for major events such as concerts or sporting events.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and several Metro Council members say that the River Center doesn’t meet the standard to host large scale events and the PMAC cannot host the events either.

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey has also lobbied for a new basketball arena since LSU’s 2023 national championship win.

“It’s time. [The PMAC] is 48 years old,” Mulkey said last year. “It’s dangerous in there. Don’t grab a rail without holding on to somebody.”

The PMAC opened in 1972 and is now 52 years old.

The Tiger Athletic Fund asked the Metro Council to enter into an agreement that would limit the kind of events held at the River Center.  

If the council agrees, the River Center would no longer host live performances with more than 3,500 people or sports events with more than 8,500 people. The agreement is to keep the new complex from competing with the River Center for events. Zydeco hockey games will remain at the River Center.

The mayor sent a statement to WBRZ that said the new venue would be “an opportunity to bring a significant parishwide benefit.”

The cost of the project isn’t yet known, but the Metro Council’s draft ordinance said it will be structured as a public-private partnership estimated to exceed $300 million. The Tiger Athletic Fund will pay for part of the project.

The proposal includes turning the River Center into a hub for conventions.

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