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St. Louis Blues for Sale


DustDevil61

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Checketts Sales Stake in Blues

I find this a bit of a surprise. I thought Checketts was going to be in this for the long haul. But he has turned the team around off the ice. I just hope that someone buys them in order to keep them in town; St. Louis isn't a city that deserves to lose their NHL team (unlike Phoenix or Miami).

I guess we can no longer joke about the possibility of the "Utah Blues" and the Utah Jazz . :P

Thoughts?

EDIT: Here's the transcript of his press conference. He's open to owning another pro team, but basically said that he'll jump on the opportunity when it comes.

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Nah, Wild Bill Hunter died, and with him the dream of the Saska Tunes. Sorry.

Hey, Matt Hulsizer! You want to get into the NHL, right? I don't know that Missouri is willing or able to give you free money, but, well, apparently Arizona isn't either, so why don't you take that $70 million you were pretending to put into the Coyotes and actually put them into the Blues. It's a short trip to St. Louis from Chicago, and the Blues actually have the potential to turn a profit.

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I read the transcript, but why sell now?

There are current issues with Glendale and in Dallas too. The Stars are still for sale with a 50% share of the American Airlines Center and apparently, there still is not buyer.

I haven't lives in the STL since 1999, but the Checketts Group bought the team/arena at the same time in which SLU announced that they were going to build an on-campus facility. The loss of those 20+ arena dates cannot be a additional reason why they are selling now. coult it?

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No, dfwabel, that's not it at all. Checketts is a minority owner and the VC firm that holds most of the cards does not see the team or the arena as a highly profitable property in the near term (or likely the distant term, for that matter). It used to be that the Blues could always be counted on to make the playoffs where the profits start turning. Unfortunately, despite some fairly shrewd drafts and some decent free agent manipulations, the team has a decent on-ice presence with lots of potential but no immediate dividend, even at a fairly low price. After several years of playing to less-than-capacity crowds, the fans have started to show up in decent quantities, however, in order for the team to come close to sustained profitability, the ticket prices would have to go up, win or lose. The present fan base simply isn't going to pay more money for a team that may not even be a perennial playoff qualifier any more. And as a former season ticket holder I can assure you that many folks have been getting very generous discounts. Scratching those discounts and then raising the base would be catastrophic. It's a vicious circle.

Add to this the continued exodus of well-heeled corporations from St. Louis (and the InBev purchase of A-B was but one of a handful of devastating departures or downsizes) has drastically shrunk the number of civic-minded moneybags ready to bail the team out. Given the personalities of those few well-heeled individuals who are left, there's no hope whatsoever of putting together a group that could possibly work together for the common good of the team.

So, unless you've got a handful of loaded StL expats living elsewhere and interested in buying up the team and the rink or a diehard NHL fan that's desperate to own ANY team and keep them where they are, I have serious, serious doubts about the long-term future of the Blues in St. Louis. I don't see a last minute savior like a Checketts or an Ornest or a Ralston Purina on the horizon. The more likely scenario is that Bill Laurie and Skip Walther pool their collective mad money to buy Scottrade Center and the Hornets. I think the Blues wind up going to the top of the table for the groups in Winnipeg and Hamilton, or perhaps even QC. The Quebec Bleus -- it would break my heart but the prospect of a uniform incorporating the highly-portable Bluenote and the Nords' Fleur de Lis does hold some aesthetic promise.

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Some of my thoughts from the other thread.

This is definitely a positive development for the franchise, and that's not a knock on Checketts who's leaving the club in much better shape than when he took over and really in pretty good shape overall, this season's standings notwithstanding. The primary reason this team hasn't been able to win more games is because they don't have the money to spend to upgrade or fill holes, and that's because 70% of the team has been for sale for a while. Checketts was trying to get investors to buy that 70% so he could remain the frontman. Now that he's not trying to maintain control, it should be much easier to find a buyer. Owning now equals controlling. And if that money can get in place before free agency kicks off that would be a huge plus for the franchise.

And now some new thoughts.

Checketts had been trying to buy that 70% share from TowerBrook by putting together a new group of investors. He had assembled that group, but negotiations with TowerBrook weren't working out, so he decided to step out of the way and sell his 20% along with TowerBrook's 90%. That's why this is happening. He WAS hoping to be in it for the long haul, but he really had no choice at this point, not if he had the good of the franchise in mind, and I really believe he does. He sounded genuinely sad that he was having to do this during the conference call. I think he truly loves this franchise now.

I also doubt the SLU games had much to do with it. I always got the sense that it was probably a relief to see SLU leave. I'm sure they paid a lease, but I can't imagine they brought much else to the table other than blocking potential dates for concerts and events. I've read that the Scottrade Center itself actually turns a profit even if the club doesn't quite. Although, Checketts insists the club is no longer bleeding money as it was when he took over. He projects them to maybe break even (which probably means they won't, but they're not in terrible shape). And if this team could win, and thus make a few rounds of playoffs and be able to raise ticket prices, they could almost surely turn a profit.

There is a St. Louis group interested. It's led by businessman Tom Stillman. The reports are mixed given that Checketts denied any legitimate offers, but supposedly his group (which includes the Cardinals' President and son of Cardinals' Chairman Bill DeWitt III) offered $110 million for the franchise within the last month. One report says that offer went through the league, not through Checketts. The price is probably higher than that, but that would be the local group to keep an eye on.

St. Louis owes Dave Checketts a great deal of appreciation for turning what was a nearly dead franchise into a lively one again, even if they didn't do a lot of winning under him. But this is likely a positive for the future as it opens the door for an owner to spend a little more to get this team over the hump.

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So, unless you've got a handful of loaded StL expats living elsewhere and interested in buying up the team and the rink or a diehard NHL fan that's desperate to own ANY team and keep them where they are, I have serious, serious doubts about the long-term future of the Blues in St. Louis. I don't see a last minute savior like a Checketts or an Ornest or a Ralston Purina on the horizon. The more likely scenario is that Bill Laurie and Skip Walther pool their collective mad money to buy Scottrade Center and the Hornets. I think the Blues wind up going to the top of the table for the groups in Winnipeg and Hamilton, or perhaps even QC. The Quebec Bleus -- it would break my heart but the prospect of a uniform incorporating the highly-portable Bluenote and the Nords' Fleur de Lis does hold some aesthetic promise.

This is a GROSS overreaction.

The league won't let a team leave Phoenix, Atlanta, or Miami, and you think they'll let the Blues go?

They would accept Tom Stillman's low offer before they sold to someone and allowed them to move.

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No, dfwabel, that's not it at all. Checketts is a minority owner and the VC firm that holds most of the cards does not see the team or the arena as a highly profitable property in the near term (or likely the distant term, for that matter). It used to be that the Blues could always be counted on to make the playoffs where the profits start turning. Unfortunately, despite some fairly shrewd drafts and some decent free agent manipulations, the team has a decent on-ice presence with lots of potential but no immediate dividend, even at a fairly low price. After several years of playing to less-than-capacity crowds, the fans have started to show up in decent quantities, however, in order for the team to come close to sustained profitability, the ticket prices would have to go up, win or lose. The present fan base simply isn't going to pay more money for a team that may not even be a perennial playoff qualifier any more. And as a former season ticket holder I can assure you that many folks have been getting very generous discounts. Scratching those discounts and then raising the base would be catastrophic. It's a vicious circle.

Add to this the continued exodus of well-heeled corporations from St. Louis (and the InBev purchase of A-B was but one of a handful of devastating departures or downsizes) has drastically shrunk the number of civic-minded moneybags ready to bail the team out. Given the personalities of those few well-heeled individuals who are left, there's no hope whatsoever of putting together a group that could possibly work together for the common good of the team.

So, unless you've got a handful of loaded StL expats living elsewhere and interested in buying up the team and the rink or a diehard NHL fan that's desperate to own ANY team and keep them where they are, I have serious, serious doubts about the long-term future of the Blues in St. Louis. I don't see a last minute savior like a Checketts or an Ornest or a Ralston Purina on the horizon. The more likely scenario is that Bill Laurie and Skip Walther pool their collective mad money to buy Scottrade Center and the Hornets. I think the Blues wind up going to the top of the table for the groups in Winnipeg and Hamilton, or perhaps even QC. The Quebec Bleus -- it would break my heart but the prospect of a uniform incorporating the highly-portable Bluenote and the Nords' Fleur de Lis does hold some aesthetic promise.

I will just correct my OP here. I lived in the STL from 1996-1999, not since 1999. It was Ron Caron who touted the continuation of the making the playoffs streak. People bought that 15 years ago. I undestand the lack of some corporate $$$ as my parents retired from A-B both before and post merger as they are old.

So, unless you've got a handful of loaded StL expats living elsewhere and interested in buying up the team and the rink or a diehard NHL fan that's desperate to own ANY team and keep them where they are, I have serious, serious doubts about the long-term future of the Blues in St. Louis. I don't see a last minute savior like a Checketts or an Ornest or a Ralston Purina on the horizon. The more likely scenario is that Bill Laurie and Skip Walther pool their collective mad money to buy Scottrade Center and the Hornets. I think the Blues wind up going to the top of the table for the groups in Winnipeg and Hamilton, or perhaps even QC. The Quebec Bleus -- it would break my heart but the prospect of a uniform incorporating the highly-portable Bluenote and the Nords' Fleur de Lis does hold some aesthetic promise.

This is a GROSS overreaction.

The league won't let a team leave Phoenix, Atlanta, or Miami, and you think they'll let the Blues go?

They would accept Tom Stillman's low offer before they sold to someone and allowed them to move.

I guess my thought is if the Stars cannot be sold in a more populated area (and with half an arena which Cuban would like to control), how soon can the Blues/Keil Center be sold?

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the prospect of a uniform incorporating the highly-portable Bluenote and the Nords' Fleur de Lis does hold some aesthetic promise.

I'd kind of like the Blues to incorporate a fleur-de-lis anyway, in honor of St. Louis's French heritage. Either a fleur-de-lis or the Apotheosis as a St. Louis-centric secondary would be neat. Using the Arch is so cliche.

I've read that the Scottrade Center itself actually turns a profit even if the club doesn't quite.

Exactly. All teams "lose money" if their books can be arranged to say so.

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The NHL moved mountains to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, so it's only fitting that Gary Bettman will now change the course of the Mississippi River. How this will ascertain that the Blues don't leave, I haven't figured out yet, but it sure is going to throw some barges for a loop.

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