Blues owner says 21-year-old arena needs “major renovation,” may seek city subsidies

There needs to be a name for the phenomenon when one team owner in a city demands stadium upgrades, and then another owner in the same city chimes in that he wants them as well. (The “Me-Too Effect”?) Anyway, the St. Louis Blues‘ Scottrade Center was built in 1994, just one year before the Rams‘ Edward Jones Dome opened, so naturally the Blues’ owner says it needs improvements, and is looking for them to be on somebody else’s dime:

St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman says the Scottrade Center is in desperate need of an upgrade, and has met with city of St. Louis officials on what a renovation could include and how it can be financed.

“All around the league, particularly in the NBA and NHL, arenas around the 20-year mark tend to go through a major renovation and that is going to be necessary at the Scottrade Center — probably even more so (in St. Louis) than in other markets,” he said while speaking on a panel at a Washington University business of sports seminar. “We are in the early stages of planning a renovation… Obviously part of the aim is to be the best possible home for the NHL and the St. Louis Blues, but Scottrade plays a key role in bringing other big events to St. Louis, like major concerts and other sporting events like NCAA March Madness. We’re not going to continue to draw those events unless we upgrade the arena significantly.”

The obsolescence claim, the threat of lost economic activity if the arena isn’t upgraded — yup, that’s two of the main gambits from the standard playbook. No threat to move to Las Vegas yet, but there’s plenty of time for that.

As for how extensive these renovations would be or how they’d be paid for, nobody is talking. The Blues are losing money according to Forbes, which is how Stillman’s ownership group was able to pick them up for a bargain price of $120 million in 2012. It’ll be fun to see if the renovation demands end up being more than the entire franchise is worth — given construction prices these days, it won’t be hard.

4 comments on “Blues owner says 21-year-old arena needs “major renovation,” may seek city subsidies

  1. The Portland Blues sound better than the Las Vegas Blues. Portland has dreary weather, Vegas implies losing money. Both are negative & have nothing to do with music. Although the PNW has a decent music scene.

    I figure the only way Vegas gets a (temporary) hockey team is the obscenely high expansion fees. Then move to Milwaukee after roughly 10 years.

  2. This shows the flaw in the NHL’s business model. The Blues play in a cold(ish) weather city. Have no NBA competition. Have a sweet deal in a large downtown arena. Have always played to nearly 90% capacity. Usually host two post season games. (sadly never more than two). And they’ve always struggled financially. If you can’t make the Blues work, you probably shouldn’t put any team south of Chicago.

  3. The next step is to start prying out bicks and having them fall. Then the stadium is unsafe surely needs major renovation.

  4. But if we don’t give him these renovations, won’t the arena become an outdated dangerous eyesore that will need replacement in 7 years?