The Odyssey Trust has announced that it will be investing £3 million in a facilities upgrade and seat refurbishment project this Summer at the Odyssey Arena – home of the Stena Line Belfast Giants.

The Odyssey Trust, the charitable organisation responsible for the management and development of the Odyssey site, is making the significant investment to the Giants home ice which opened its doors on Saturday 2nd December 2000. Since then, the Giants have won eight major championships including four league titles with over eight million visiting the Odyssey Arena for wide range of high profile events ranging from concerts and comedy to theatre, family and a multitude of sports.

The Arena facilities upgrade and seat refurbishment project, which will begin in July, will see circa £3 million invested on new seating, improved digital infrastructure and other key initiatives to enhance overall fan experience.

Each of the 9,000 seats inside the auditorium will be replaced, as well as the decking and flooring areas. A new Club Seat section will be introduced to allow for attractive vantage points, higher backed chairs and enhanced comfort. Investments in WiFi technology, Digital Screens and chip and pin payment services are also planned as part of the Odyssey Trust’s commitment to provide first class services to its patrons.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell welcomed the announcement. He said: “Northern Ireland has increasingly become known as the home of major events and our tourism industry has never been in a stronger position. The Odyssey Arena is one of our premier entertainment venues, hosting concerts by international artists, exhibitions and a wide range of sporting events as well as being home to the Stena Line Belfast Giants.”

“The arena makes a significant contribution to our local economy playing an important role in the tourism, hospitality and events sector. The investment by the Odyssey Trust will not only maximise the facilities offered here but will ensure the Titanic Quarter remains a key Belfast destination for both local people and tourists alike.”

Adrian Doyle, Operations Director of the Odyssey Trust, said: “2015 is a very exciting year for the Odyssey Arena and we are looking forward to the facilities upgrade and seat refurbishment project taking place during the summer. As the Arena approaches its 15th birthday it is important for us to re-invest in our facilities and continue to enhance our service offering to customers.”

He added: “The Autumn and early winter programme is looking very exciting with a great range of rock and pop, comedy and family shows. Sport has played such an important part in the Odyssey story to date it seems fitting that the Arena will host the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in December. The sporting highlight of this year however will undoubtedly be Belfast’s first major college ice hockey tournament held over Thanksgiving weekend in November. This will see four top universities from the prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) play in The Friendship Four, an event that is likely to attract an audience from across the UK, Europe and America.”