Lawmakers in Missouri have authorised legislation that will provide financial aid to the redevelopment of Enterprise Center, home of NHL ice hockey team the St. Louis Blues, as well as other sporting venues in the US state.
Enterprise Center, which has a capacity of 18,400 for ice hockey games, opened in October 1994 and is currently in the midst of its first major renovation project. This has already involved upgrades to the scoreboard, sound system and seats, with the second phase, to be aided by the state money, to focus more on the building’s infrastructure.
The Associated Press news agency said that under the legislation, the Enterprise Center could receive $2.5m (£1.95m/€2.23m) annually over the first 10 years, commencing from 2022. For the following 10 years, it could receive annual payments of $4.5m.
The legislation last week passed 24-10 in the Senate and was approved by 89 votes to 58 in the House yesterday (Wednesday). It will now head to Governor Mike Parson to be rubber stamped.
Backers of the legislation said the arena improvements may be more crucial in enhancing Enterprise Center’s competitiveness in the bidding market for major events other than Blues games. “Without renovations, and without public-sector support for those renovations, we run the risk of being less competitive in pursuit of national events,” said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission.
Blues president and chief executive of business operations, Chris Zimmerman, said that the state funding provides the “final piece” to complete a project that will make Enterprise Center “second to none in competing for and earning events that will make a significant difference to our city, community and state.”
The AP added that Arrowhead Stadium, home of NFL American football franchise the Kansas City Chiefs, and Kauffman Stadium, which hosts Major League Baseball team the Kansas City Royals, already receive annual subsidies of $3m per year from the state. The new legislation will extend this for a further 10 years.
Image: Enterprise Center