Missouri approves $41m worth of renovations for Blues arena that St. Louis just paid $67m to renovate in 2017

The state of Missouri has approved $70 million in spending over 20 years for renovations to the St. Louis Blues arena — and if you feel like this just happened a couple of years ago, you’re almost right: That was $67 million in city money, and will cover scoreboard, sound system, and seat upgrades; the state money will pay for escalators, roofing and heating, and air conditioning, because apparently that’s what was left to buy on the Blues’ gift registry.

This will be totally worth it, say public officials, because competitiveness!

“Without renovations, and without public-sector support for those renovations, we run the risk of being less competitive in pursuit of national events,” said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission, a nonprofit organization that attracts and manages sporting events.

Also because hockey is fun!

The fact that the Blues currently are making a run in the NHL postseason was mentioned by more than one state lawmaker during House debate on Wednesday, including by some who eagerly described going to hockey games.

(I’m having trouble finding documents to confirm this 100%, but the Blues owners appear not to have agreed to any sort of lease extension in exchange for the subsidies, presumably because St. Louis and Missouri official are even bigger morons than their neighbors over in Indiana.)

Since the payments are deferred a bit, the state’s $70 million in nominal subsidies is worth more like $41 million in present value, so that reduces the sting a bit. Though the legislature also tacked on approval to pay another 10 years’ worth of $3-million-a-year lease subsidies to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, which adds to the sting, though at least those are subsidies that were planned for all along, so it’s not really a new waste of cash, just an agreement to keep up with the commitment to an old one? Maybe it’s best just to say Who can put a price on state-of-the-art escalators? and leave it at that.

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4 comments on “Missouri approves $41m worth of renovations for Blues arena that St. Louis just paid $67m to renovate in 2017

  1. The only “national events” that I can think of are the NCAA football and basketball championships and the Super Bowl*, and they are played in full sized stadiums. Unless he’s aiming to snag the ArenaBowl.

    *used with permission

    1. You forgot that St.L has hosted and is in line to host gymnastics and other NCAA championships and did so in 2018. Not that these justify the expense but STL has hosted a few NCAA events.

  2. The ScottKielVisPrise Arena used to have more events but Saint Louis University built another slightly smaller arena a little over a mile away (Billikens now no longer play at ScottKielVisPrise). The chance an arena like this could have to breaking even on operating revenue was lost after that happened so only subsidies could keep this thing afloat.

    Nice Spirits reference above.

  3. “Who can put a price on state-of-the-art escalators?”

    Those things are pretty scary. After the acceleration and collapse in 2009, I rode them down with trepidation. An usher at the top restricted access as well. Still not as scary as the long, open ones at the dome.

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