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By Steve Patterson

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The St. Louis Blues are back.

Saturday night the Blue note takes to the ice against the Detroit Red Wings after a long NHL lockout for hockey fans.

This is good news, but what damage has that already done to the city?

For each of the home games we should have already been enjoying this year the city lost an estimated $65,000 in tax revenue.

Now, perhaps more than any other year in decades, the level of fan excitement will have a direct impact on city dollars.

The 113 day lockout has been costly. Parking is also a major loss. The city has loss hundreds of thousands of dollars in the garages and lots it operates for the games.

The $65,000 a game cuts into the city's tax revenue, but downtown businesses like hotels, restaurants and stands are taking a big hit as well.

It seems dire, but this year the Blues have a very good hockey team.

NewsChannel 5 spoke to officials with the city and sports commission on the direct impact this is having.

"We've lost, in direct revenue from taxes collected on game nights: about $1.3 million. So taxpayers are glad that the Blues are back," said Jeff Rainford, Mayor Slay's Chief of Staff.

"Our budget is about $470 million, so a million out of 470 is real money, but it is not a game-changer," said Frank Viverito with the St. Louis Sports Commission.

Those numbers aren't just good for the Blues, they're good for the city.

The one big thing expert in town here say the Blues have is a strong brand recognition. St. Louis does not have a major basketball team so the fever when something like this happens gets intense.

If there's any indication the fans are ready, it's numbers from this week. Around 8,000 fans filled the stands to watch a scrimmage. Thursday night that number increased to more than 10,000.

But it's how well the team does, how many games they win, that will have a direct impact on the dollars.

The St. Louis Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings game begins Saturday at 7 p.m.

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