Every season, Stadium Journey ranks the best arena experiences in the NHL. Last year, the Blues and the Scottrade Center were seventh overall; this year, they jumped up four spots to third overall, following just the MTS Centre (for those of you who like little arenas with a bunch of loud Canadians) and the Excel Energy Center (for those of you who are trying to find a source of warmth during Minnesota winters).
There must be something about arenas with "Center" in their name.
This new ownership and an infusion of solid off-ice leadership has vaulted the team to the second largest increase in franchise value at 15% (the Montreal Canadiens hold the top spot in franchise value increase at 18%). And there are many reasons for this.
The team has been clever in developing and expanding vital revenue streams without overpricing the traditional means for making money. Not owning the building where they play hinders this, but the team forges ahead and is conscious of image while they do it.
The better quality product on the ice helps, even despite post-season disappointment in recent seasons. But the real benefit comes from the experience each fan enjoys when they step inside the Scottrade Center for a professional hockey experience. Taking a page from the St. Louis Cardinals, who play baseball just one mile east at Busch Stadium, the Blues listen to their fans. It is not easy-speak, it is action and application.
This is obviously without taking any planned renovations into account, proving that an arena experience isn't about the shiny doo-dads and if your seats haven't been updated to a color that modern eyes find appealing. Fan relations and participation are key in building a good experience.
The highlight of the arena review is a reference to "a person called 'Towel Man," which might be the most apt description of him that I've read. "He exists. He is there."
The whole review's worth a read - I don't know about the glowing take on the arena food, but if you're attending one of your first Blues games, the write-up offers one of the best "where to sit" breakdowns and game day routine suggestions that I've seen. I can't knock anything that gives Maggie's a glowing review (though I disagree with their assessment of Union Station - if you have some money to splurge and don't want to deal with a ton of loud people, the Grand Hall is a good place to do it).
Finally, there's this gem:
Get to know [Blues fans] as they are friendly, informative and highly passionate. There are many generations of fans who are regulars at Blues games. If you come to support the visiting team, simply do so with class and dignity. If you wish to practice "in-your-face" cheering, you might just go home with a different looking face.
Hm. I wouldn't go that far, yet if you get ahold of someone who's had one too many tall boys, well... you've been warned.