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St. Louis Blues’ owner weighs in on the rising cap’s effects upon mid-market franchises

The St. Louis Blues view themselves as something of a mid-market team in a big sports market city, and the team's majority owner, Tom Stillman, gave some particularly intriguing comments to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill regarding the salary cap's likely rise to the $71-million range next season and up, up and away in seasons to come thanks to the NHL's new Canadian TV deal.

Big-market and big-spending teams greeted the news positively, smaller-market teams issued some concerns, but we haven't heard from "the middle" yet, so here's what a representative of an established franchise in a hockey city that is neither "big" nor "small," but still "spends to the upper limit" thinks about the cap's rise:

“The first thing (the rising salary cap) indicates is the league is healthy, really on the upswing, the game of hockey and the NHL. It says good things about the game,” Blues chairman Tom Stillman said. “The second thing is, it just kind of reinforces the need for us to expand our revenue base. Because we need to compete with teams that are going to spend to that cap level. We have to be competitive off the ice, in the revenue department, if we’re going to be competitive on the ice.”

O'Neill continues at length and offers a rereshingly plain-spoken summation as to how the cap's determined and why ticket prices rise in an "inflationary spiral" two lockouts after Gary Bettman promised that "spiral" would cease--because teams keep 100% of that revenue for themselves--and here is Stillman's bottom line:

“You have a situation where, yeah, league-wide revenues are going up,” Stillman said. “And some of them are at the central level, like the recent Canadian TV deal. But you have the Canadian teams and big market U.S. teams that are just rolling at a very high percentage on a very big base. And all of that pulls up the cap for everybody. So we can be going along and doing pretty well, but if that thing is being pulled up by the super-charged markets, well, we have to compete in that world. Our job is to make sure we’re doing everything we can to expand out basis of support and increase our revenues so we can stay competitive.”

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  Tags: st.+louis+blues



Correction: Most teams keep 50% of that revenue for themselves, the rest goes to players.  Other teams have to pay revenue sharing, so it’s even less than 50%.  And then there’s paying the management, the vendors, the ushers, the janitors, the travel, and on and on.

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/12/13 at 07:50 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/12/13 at 07:50 AM ET

While we’re being unnecessarily nit-picky, let’s put the money going out in the right order.

then there’s paying the management, the vendors, the ushers, the janitors, the travel, and on and on.

Actually comes before the split with players as a factor of direct costs.


Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/13 at 08:05 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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