Blues’ Owner Eager to Collect Victories and Cut Losses

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(From Sports Business Journal, September 30, 2013) On Thursday, Blues Majority Owner Tom Stillman encounters his first full season when the Blues face off against the Nashville Predators in St. Louis.  After the result of the 2012-2013-lockout season, Stillman stated, “One of the reasons you get into this line of work is for the enjoyment of competing and winning.” In May of 2012, Stillman purchased the St. Louis Blues for $135 million from Dave Checketts and SCP Worldwide. In the previous season before Stillman purchased the Blues, the owners had lost 20 million in revenue.

With the amount of success that the Blues had last season, the team sold 1,700 new season tickets and retained 90 percent of its season ticket holder purchasers. New to this season, the Blues decided to take four games off the market for single-game sales. These games consist of the more crowd-popularity-based games:  two against the Chicago Blackhawks, one against Detroit and the season’s home opener. In order to purchase tickets to one of these games, fans must buy a minimum three game package.

Within the clubs 46-year past, the sponsorship sales have never been as high as they currently are now. The club renewed its sponsorship with Anheuser-Busch for five future seasons. Along with Anheuser-Busch, Jack Daniel’s and Grey Goose signed a three-year deal with the Blues to be title sponsors of the bar. Stillman indicated that the major important levers such as the tickets, suites, and sponsorship are progressing along very well.

As Stillman begins his first Season as the owner of the Blues, he plans on including his management to do most of the communication for the franchise. In early September, Blues alumni Brett Hull was positioned as Executive Vice President. To help develop business, Hull is going to use his popularity in the market. After 37 years with the Blues, Bruce Affleck, a broadcaster and former player was appointed to the team president of business operations.

After Stillman was asked if he had acquired a form of ownership in the last year, he inferred that he has no desire to speak to the press. Rather he stated, “. . .  we have Bruce as president, Doug Armstrong as GM and brought back Brett.  They can do most of the speaking for our team.”