CenturyLink Center sees millions in upgrades, working on name sponsor

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Bossier City’s CenturyLink Center is not only nearing completion of nearly $10 million in renovations and upgrades, they are also looking for a new name.

Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker announced in July that the CenturyLink Center has notified the city, and the building’s management company SMG, that they will not be renewing their naming rights. Bossier City has already begun publicizing a Request for Proposal for naming rights of their arena currently named CenturyLink Center. The current deal expires in October of 2020.

Rebecca Bonnevier, SMG general manager of the CenturyLink Center, will be facilitating the Request for Proposals on behalf of the City of Bossier City, and said, “CenturyLink has been Bossier City’s naming rights partner for nearly 20 years and the relationship has proven to be successful. The City has decided to begin the RFP process now rather than waiting. We’ve had many companies reach out to us so far. I feel like we are in a better place then ever to negotiate a strong sponsorship.” 

She added that the building has been hosting some of the biggest shows ever in the last few years and that positions everyone to even generate more revenue through a naming right sponsorship.

The venue has hosted large name performers like Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Chris Stapleton, Pink and KISS. As well as the Olympic Qualifiers for Women’s Volleyball; the only event of its kind in the United States. 

During various events hosted at the CenturyLink Center, an economic impact study is performed to see how much additional revenue is being spent by guests in Bossier when large name performers are performing.

For example, the performance by rock icon Bob Seger in March saw an overall impact of $809,711 on Shreveport-Bossier City.

The direct impact of visitor spending was estimated to be $417,387. Indirect visitor spending had a total economic impact of $730,427.

“Hosting large name performers has a huge economic impact to the area. Each economic impact study that is conducted is roughly the same amount,” said Bonnevier. “We want people to want to come here. We don’t want them to have to drive out of the market to be able to see these great shows. We want them to have the great experience here in Bossier City.”

Nearly $10 million worth of renovations and upgrades to the CenturyLink Center have been completed over the past year. Guests will enjoy additional comforts including new lighting, bars, improved heating and air conditioning, seating, paint in and outside the arena. Visitors will also notice a freshly paved and striped parking lot, the addition of a ribbon board, a new center scoreboard, and a new roof.

In August 2017, the Bossier City Council approved to borrow up to $10 million for CenturyLink Center upgrades. The borrowed funds are being paid back using revenue from a $3 restoration fee for every ticket sold at the arena.

Bonnevier says most of the upgrades that have taken place so far have been coming in under the original estimated bidding price, which means additional upgrades can take place. 

Working together to research how the remainder of the money would be invested in the best way to benefit guests, the city decided to put together an arena committee made up of city council members to work with Bonnevier. 

“I met with them a few weeks ago and we’re kinda diving back into what are some more things that need to be done or what are some more things that you would like to have done. We’re kinda going through the wants and needs at this time. Nothing is finalized,” said Bonnevier. 

She says additional upgrades that have been spoken about between herself and the arena committee are landscaping, investing in more kitchen equipment, and upgraded internet capabilities and Wifi.

“We are really looking at our internet capabilities and our Wifi. We really are wanting to start getting into e-sports. To do that, you have to have the infrastructure to support it,” Bonnevier said. “We really want to be progressive as we move into the future. So, if we look at doing a podcast and e-sports and things like that, we need to make sure we have the infrastructure to support that.”