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St. Louis Blues Bid For Stanley Cup Is A Win For City's Coffers

Outside the Enterprise Center on 05/22/19 , the day after The St. Louis Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks to go to the Stanley Cup Final.
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio
After a win Tuesday night, the St. Louis blues head to the Stanley Cup Final. With at least two games in St. Louis, the city anticipates additional tax revenue to boost its budget.

So far this year, the St. Louis Blues have generated nearly $4 million in city revenue. And now that the hockey team is headed to the Stanley Cup Final, the city expects an extra financial bump.

That’s according to estimates from St. Louis Budget Director Paul Payne. He said the city will predominantly benefit from direct revenue brought in from sales taxes on tickets. Indirect money from spending on things like concessions, parking, restaurants and hotels will also contribute to the city’s budget.

“I’d estimated back at the beginning of the playoffs you’d see the three games would probably be somewhere in the area of $300,000, which would go up with each succeeding series,” he said.

Before Tuesday night’s win over the San Jose Sharks, Payne was wary of calculating the extra boost the finals could bring the city out of fear of jinxing the team.

“I think we’re all hopeful we’re four games away from something really special,” he said on Wednesday.

The Blues will host at least two Stanley Cup Final games at the Enterprise Center, on June 1 and 3.

The larger impact that the Blues presence in the finals will have on St. Louis’ economy is a harder calculation to make, according to Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University.

“The economic impact in terms of financially for the city is somewhat tempered just because most of the people who go to the games are from here, and if they didn’t spend their money on playoff tickets, they’d be spending it somewhere else locally,” he said.

Playing in the finals is likely to boost the financial success and long-term value of the team, though. That means ticket prices and sales will go up.

The biggest boost for the city will likely be more of an emotional, intangible impact, Rishe said.

“Just like people are getting excited about Major League Soccer potentially coming to St. Louis, which is almost a certainty that it will at this point, it really kind of uplifts people and gives them a greater sense of self as it relates to being a St. Louisan,” he said. “And I think that has value.”

Hosting some of the Stanley Cup games will also give St. Louis an opportunity to highlight what it has to offer to the rest of the country, according to Tom Chulick, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

“You’re getting a tremendous amount of hockey fans from around the country, not only Boston,” he said. “We’re at a national scale at this point, and need to think bigger, bolder and better about what that means.”

For local businesses, the extra games mean more money.

“The first round brings people in, then everything is amplified a little more,” he said, adding that in total, postseason games could give local restaurants, hotels and Uber drivers an additional two months of unanticipated revenue.

“That’s huge,” he said.

Follow Corinne on Twitter:@corinnesusan

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org

Corinne is the economic development reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.