Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Predators deal crumbling

The leader of a local group trying to buy the Nashville Predators said Monday that he doesn't expect the deal to work out.

The group on Saturday asked for new tax money and several improvements to the Sommet Center, where the Predators play. According to leader David Freeman, the city has rejected the requests.

"No, I'm not hopeful, but also not bitter," Freeman said Monday, after his group's proposal to change the Predators' Sommet Center lease was made public. "We put a ton of work into it, and we did our best."
I guess the local group doesn't mind saying so long to their $10-million deposit — or this is where Boots Del Biaggio steps in and buys the remaining 60-per-cent of the team (his original share was said to be in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent, giving him the single largest share of those in this "local" group).

Freeman and company immediately went to the city after signing the binding agreement, and The Tennessean story details just what they were after:
  • They wanted to keep all of the sales taxes and seat use fees related to hockey games and other events ($4.6-million in 2007)
  • A cap on the amount of operating losses covered by the city at just under $4-million
  • They wanted the team to be able to leave if attendance fell below 14,000 and the group lost $20-million
  • An increase on the penalty for breaking the team lease
  • Assistance with creating new revenue streams and eliminating excessive utility costs
  • Free use of a new parking facility
I've said it before, but it's widely known that the Predators already had the league's best arena lease deal before any of these concessions were made — concessions that the Freeman group brought to the table after signing an agreement with Craig Leipold.

Tom Benjamin has already said it, and so have I, but this team's as good as gone. The ownership situation is a complete mess — an embarrassment, really — and with a willing buyer already in the mix in Del Biaggio, it seems a matter of how soon he can get this team to Kansas City more than anything.

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At 4:37 p.m., October 02, 2007, Anonymous penaltyshots.ca said...

Anything you can give us about why the Balsillie deal wasn't approved? Certainly the fact he wanted to move the team isn't the real reason now that all this is emerging. This mess could have been cleaned up and making money in Hamilton by now.

At 10:35 p.m., October 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not over yet. See tomorrow's news.

At 11:19 p.m., October 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Balsillie deal was not approved because Bettman considers Kitchener/Waterloo/Hamilton to be a waste of an NHL franchise and he wields enough power to prevent it from happening. That other NHL insiders support the idea is of no consequence.

Southern Ontario will be chalked full of the NHL's most rabid fans no matter how much they get kicked around, and Bettman understands this as well as anyone.

At 2:43 p.m., October 03, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

....."The Balsillie deal was not approved because Bettman considers Kitchener/Waterloo/Hamilton to be a waste of an NHL franchise and he wields enough power to prevent it from happening....."

WRONG. Bettman has nothing to do with it. There are two reasons Hamilton and Balsillie were rebuffed.

1) AEG wants teams in KC and LasVegas for its buildings.

2) MLSE doesn't want any competition in Southern Ontario.

AEG and MLSE are extremely powerful forces in the NHL. Bettman simply does what they tell him to do.

At 2:06 a.m., October 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all are full of crap. The team isn't going anywhere.


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