About the Sames Auto Arena
History in the Making
The Sames Auto Arena is a first class, state-of-the-art multipurpose facility developed by Arena Ventures LLC. Entering its 16th year of operation, the state-of-the-art Sames Auto Arena has established itself as the premier entertainment option in South Texas and Northern Mexico. 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.
In 2010, the previously-named Laredo Entertainment Center was renamed the Laredo Energy Arena after Laredo Energy purchased the venue's naming rights. In 2018, Sames Auto Group purchased the naming rights in which the venue's name is now Sames Auto Arena. Learn more about Sames Auto Group by clicking here.
During the late 1990s, businessman Glenn Hart made frequent business trips to Laredo and consistently took note of the city’s tremendous growth. At the time, area residents had to drive two or more hours to the nearest entertainment facility. So in 1999, Hart and five businessmen formed Arena Ventures – the organization that 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. The facility officially opened its doors in October 2002 and just recently celebrated its 15th year in operation! The economic impact to the local community will exceed $100 million dollars annually and generate hundreds of local jobs.
The facility’s management company, SMG, oversees all aspects of the arena including operations, concessions, scheduling, ticketing, and marketing. SMG is the world’s foremost leader in the private development and management of public assembly facilities, including stadiums, arenas, theaters and exhibition/convention centers. It has been in the management business for nearly 25 years. Today, it manages 168 facilities worldwide.
With 32,000 square feet of continuous open floor space, the Sames Auto Arena 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 twelve to fourteen people, among other amenities. The club level, which is on the same level as the luxury suites, features a bar overlooking the main floor. The Star Bar -- located on the main concourse -- has a full bar set in a “celebrity lounge” atmosphere with sofa seating, cable television, today’s music and more. Patrons can also enjoy the newly refurnished Attitude Lounge, located in the main entrance!
In the past years events have included: Shakira, Elton John, Julio Iglesias, Cher, WWE, Santana, ZZ Top, Juanes, The Harlem Glodetrotters, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, Cirque du Soleil, Sesame Street, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Bad Bunny, Maluma, the late Juan Gabriel, a 5-year run of the Miss Texas USA Pageant and many others. The Sames Auto Arena continues to move forward with exciting entertainment beginning the return of the Laredo Bucks!
More than just a building to house events, the Sames Auto Arena has become a true gathering place where members of the community can come for a night of fun and festivities such as the annual Navidadfest & Tree Lighting, Taste of Laredo (part of the Washington's Birthday Celebration) and the International Sisters Cities Festival!
The Sames Auto Arena 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 is currently being developed with hotels and office parks, specialized retail stores and restaurants, and a $1.5 millionwater feature with fountains, a boardwalk and quarter-mile jogging track.