By Suzanne Vanderhoef
When you go to a professional hockey game, of course the main attraction is the players on the ice. But part of the fun of actually being live, inside the arena is all the lights, music, bells and whistles.
And when you go to a St. Louis Blues game, the Master of Ceremonies running the show and overseeing all that is Eric Siders.
“My primary position is game entertainment producer,” explains Eric Siders, “Blues Showrunner” aka Director of Blue Note Productions. “I write the scripts for all of our home games. I work with all of the departments in our organization to determine what we’re going to do on that particular night: what promos we’re going to run, what games and things like that we’re going to do.”
To be clear, the game itself is live and –although some fans might like to have a predetermined outcome—he does not have any control over which teams win or lose.
“The play on the ice is all not scripted,” Siders clarifies. “The players, whatever they do, that’s part of the game, right? What we provide is more of the entertainment surrounding the game, so music and videos and the promos –puck shuffle and things like that—the intermission content, the bands, things like that, that’s what we script and what we put on the entertainment outside the actual game.”
From his perspective, the show starts before the players come out. As soon as the doors open and fans start entering the arena Siders and his crew begins playing music and running videos on the jumbotron. And once the game gets going, they crank things up even more. If the team is down, they try to get the crowd pumped up. And if the team is doing well, they try to keep the celebration going.
And Siders oversees all that from a seat all alone near the top of the arena. But in order to make it all happen, he’s in constant communication with a whole bunch of other people helping execute those calls.
“I always tell people it’s kind of like steering a ship,” says Siders. “[It’s] like steering a big ocean liner. There’s a lot of people involved. Everyone’s very talented. And I’m just telling them where we’re going to head and trying to steer that ship in that direction. One thing that we always like to say is even if the team isn’t performing well, people are still here to have a good time.”