With Rams gone, Blues owner wants St. Louis to throw money at him instead

Okay, who didn’t see this coming?

The St. Louis Blues want local governments to renovate their city-owned downtown arena as part of a project that will also upgrade the city’s convention center and former home of its recently departed NFL team.

The Blues ownership’s renovation request is expected to cost more than $100 million (the entire franchise sold for just $120 million in 2012), while adding upgrades to the convention center and the Edward Jones Dome — which won’t be home of the Rams anymore, but is still used by conventions every once in a while — could run into the “hundreds of millions,” says the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Blues owner Tom Stillman first asked for arena upgrades last October; convention center president Kitty Ratcliffe says “it would not have been the right time” to ask for this money before, what with Missouri being in the middle of debating shoveling money at the Rams and all, but now it’s a different story.

And why exactly would St. Louis want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its convention center and its NHL team’s arena, entirely at public expense?

“We’re looking at this as a boost for the region’s tourism industry,” said Mary Ellen Ponder, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff. “But right now it’s basically us listening to their needs.”

Translation: The Blues owners said they need it, so we’re going to try to give it to them. Excuse me now while I go write a letter to Mayor Slay explaining why I need a pony.

7 comments on “With Rams gone, Blues owner wants St. Louis to throw money at him instead

  1. People around town didn’t believe me, but I saw this coming as soon as the Rams left. The arena could use some upgrades like new seats and a better scoreboard, but I’m not sure how the stuff they’re talking about costs $100 million.

  2. It’s probably different now, but before the most recent NHL CBA, Forbes said the Blue’s value alone was petty much $0. It was only their arena and lease that gave the team any value.

  3. And of course, if people are willing to pay more to sit in nicer seats, the Blues could presumably pay for the improvements, whether up front or via increased rent. If they’re not, then maybe nicer seats aren’t such a big deal.

  4. Rams leaving town was the best thing that could’ve happened to the Blues (and the Cardinals too, to an extent). We’re seeing why now.

  5. How bout you quit crying about upgrades and WIN a Stanley Cup first! People might start taking you seriously and consider your request Mr Stillman. The arena is perfectly fine the way it is considering the last 21 seasons have ended the same way, pure dissapointment. Credibility works wonders!

  6. I go to ScottTrade most years for Arch Madness (MVC men’s basketball tournament) in March. Other than the arena and the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village, nothing Downtown is open on the weekend. If I didn’t enjoy the basketball tournament so much, I’d never go back.

    Downtown STL needs a whole lot more than improved arena scoreboards and seating (although both could desperately use an upgrade at ScottTrade) to make themselves more competitive in the convention realm. They might want to invest in their neglected train station, for starters…

    Full disclosure: I’m from Chicago originally, so I may be unduly harsh in my impressions of STL.

  7. Listen, if St. Louis finds all the local sports owners to be repugnant, greedy nincompoops, they can always take that juicy public stadium cash and throw it at me! I’ll invest it in rare cognac, expensive cigars and luxury housing for my family.

    – Your humble public servant, Piggy