Senior Director, Promotions & Digital Strategy, St. Louis Blues
Matt Gardner is entering his seventh season overseeing the digital strategy for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, Scottrade Center and Peabody Opera House. In his role, Gardner leads the digital media team in creating an active content plan across the team’s websites, mobile apps, email and social media channels, while also developing revenue opportunities for sponsorship, ticket sales and retail. Gardner also leads the company’s continued efforts in emerging media, focusing on integrating technologies that improve the fan experience of attending live sports and entertainment events.
A native of Emporia, Kansas, Gardner's career in sports began at 16 when he was hired as a part-time sportswriter for The Emporia Gazette. As an undergraduate at KU, Gardner juggled covering KU athletics for the University Daily Kansan while also writing for the Lawrence Journal-World. Prior to graduation, he also worked for the magazine American Football Quarterly, completed an internship with the ATP World Tour, and a has game day role with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In early 2002, Gardner accepted an offer to return to the ATP World Tour as Editor/Writer & Rankings Coordinator in his first full-time role after graduation. It was during this time that Gardner received his first exposure in the digital space and began transitioning his focus into the online world, deepening his knowledge of web-based content strategies and developing platforms for global audiences. In 2005, the NBA’s Orlando Magic hired Gardner as part of its creation of a digital department for the first time. In addition to leading its online editorial direction, Gardner led the Magic’s first foray into social media and online video streaming while also strengthened the team’s digital revenue opportunities.
With a strong desire to increase his capabilities as a digital professional, Gardner shifted gears in 2008 and joined the digital agency side where he helped create strategies for clients such as Sears, (RED), International Speedway Corporation, United Football League, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Planet Hollywood. But a lifelong passion for sports lured Gardner back in 2012 when he moved to St. Louis to join the Blues.
Gardner resides in Ballwin, Missouri, with wife, Aimee, and sons, Alec and Cole. Alec will begin his freshman year at KU this fall, studying aerospace engineering.