The return of the National Hockey League to Quebec City is a little closer to becoming a reality.

Quebec government says it's willing to put up 45 per cent of the price tag for a new arena, spiking to $180 million from the previous commitment of $50 million. It now hopes Ottawa will match that contribution.

Premier Jean Charest made the announcement next to Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume on Tuesday.

The promise came following the release of an Ernst & Young report that says a new arena could be economically viable, even if the city doesn't get the Olympics or a hockey team.

"It is not normal that a city the size of Quebec City, which is our capital city, not have a multifunctional amphitheatre," said Charest.

""I'm a fan and I think we should but even if there is no hockey team. It makes sense."

The city is hoping to make a bid for the winter Olympics in 2022 or 2026.

But the mayor and premier made it clear that getting an NHL team back in the city is an obvious goal.

The NHL says it would only consider a return of a team to Quebec City -- the Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995 -- if the city gets a modern arena.

The mayor says he intends to phone NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and tell him the financing is now half-way completed.

"There's somebody that maybe would like to buy a hockey team from the NHL, so I would tell him that," said Labeaume.

A major "bring back the Nordiques" rally is scheduled for Oct. 2 on the Plains of Abraham.

On Dec. 11, busloads of hockey fans are set to take a road trip to New York City to see Islanders play and show the NHL they want to see some hockey in Quebec City.

"We are putting our money where our mouth is, and so is the city of Quebec," said Charest.

With a report from The Canadian Press