Pictured to the right, the Laredo Energy Arena (LEA) is a first-class, state-of-the-art multipurpose facility developed by Arena Ventures LLC. This multi-use facility has introduced affordable, family-oriented entertainment to the South Texas and Northern Mexico markets, including major concerts, sporting events, family and ice shows, conventions, trade shows and civic events.
During the late 1990s, Laredo Energy's CEO, Glenn Hart, made frequent trips to Laredo and consistently took note of the city's tremendous growth. He also noticed that South Texas and Northern Mexico were missing a modern venue to attract sporting events, top-name concerts and family shows. At the time, area residents had to drive two or more hours to the nearest entertainment facility.
In 1999, Hart and five businessmen formed Arena Ventures partnered with the City of Laredo to build a world-class entertainment facility. The City of Laredo funded the $36.5 million project through a one-quarter percent sales tax increase that was approved by Laredo voters on August 12, 2000, with the facility's groundbreaking taking place in June 2001.
Now home to the Central Hockey League's Laredo Bucks, the Laredo Energy Arena was built in just 15 months at a cost of $36.5 million. The economic impact to the local community now exceeds $100 million dollars per year and LEA generates hundreds of local jobs.
With 32,000 square feet of continuous open floor space, the LEA has the largest indoor convention space in South Texas. The 178,000-square-foot facility boasts a seating capacity of 10,000 with 14 luxury suites, six meeting rooms and a private club. The facility's luxury suites include concierge service, a television and seating for 12 to 14 people among other amenities. The clubhouse level, which is on the same level as the luxury suites, features a bar overlooking the main floor.
On the north end of town, the LEA sits on 25 acres at Jacaman Road and Loop 20 — property that Arena Ventures donated to the City of Laredo. Arena Ventures owns 35 additional acres around the site that has been developed with hotels, specialized retail stores and restaurants.
The facility's management company, SMG Management, oversees all aspects of the arena including operations, concessions, scheduling, ticketing and marketing. SMG Management is one of the world's foremost leaders in the private development and management of public assembly facilities, including stadiums, arenas, theaters and exhibition/convention centers. SMG has been in the management business for over 23 years and currently manages 156 facilities worldwide.