On this morning’s Game Time AM, Blues CEO and President of Business Operations joined the show to discuss the process of securing funds to upgrade the Scottrade Center, and suggested that those upgrades would be sufficient to take the building through the end of its lifespan.
“The upgrades should keep Scottrade competitive for events for the next twenty years,” Zimmerman said, expressing confidence that organizations outside of the Blues would see substantial benefits. The Scottrade Center is playing host to next season’s SEC basketball tournament, and Zimmerman said that an updated scoreboard and locker rooms should be in place in time to host that event.
The use of public money for the upgrades does, of course, remain an issue of some concern. Though the Blues ultimately succeeded in gaining approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, they maintain the fight to secure money from the state of Missouri, and Governor Eric Greitens has publicly pledged to prevent public dollars from flowing into stadiums.
“Our approach to this all along has been that this is not about a hockey team,” said Zimmerman. “If the state invests in the building, we will be more competitive. We will drive more tax revenue.”
Zimmerman also resisted the suggestion that the Blues difficult financial situation has forced them into making competitive decisions that are encroached upon by the business environment. While acknowledging that the Blues have a history of economic challenges in the area, Zimmerman said, “we’re not making any decisions around players or personnel on whether or not we make the playoffs."
That may come as a relief to some Blues fans who are harboring concerns about the balance between the economic success and competitive success of the team. Indeed, while there’s additional revenue generated by playoff participation, Zimmerman said that the team does not rely on that revenue.
From an economic perspective, Zimmerman said, “the playoffs by themselves are not the factor by which the Blues are successful or not." From that, one can take solace in the team’s relative financial health, and can breathe easier around concerns that the team may be pushed in an unpopular direction in order to stay afloat.
The approved upgrades for Scottrade Center include enhancements to the ice plant and lighting, as well as the sound system, locker rooms, and an expanded Clark Street entrance which Zimmerman said would include an unticketed beer garden for fans to enjoy the atmosphere.
At the links below, you can hear the rest of the interview, along with the remainder of Monday’s show, which features Game Time’s page five writer, Franchise Goalie Trevor. Be sure to tune in every Monday-Thursday on 590 AM or 105.7 HD2 FM in St. Louis, stream at insideSTL.com, or download the podcast from your outlet of choice.
Segment 1 - Featuring discussion of last night’s win over the Avalanche and economic biases.
Segment 2 - Interview with Chris Zimmerman, bad Blues Lounge Post of the Day