'Nashville's last chance'
Boots's plans for Preds revealed
From Day 1, when Boots Del Biaggio's name appeared as part of the "local" group's purchase in Nashville, it was clear he was a snake in the grass — which is why it comes as little surprise that The Tennessean has unearthed documents outlying his intentions to move the team.
But who knew that there'd be a handy PowerPoint presentation behind it all?
In a document entitled "Nashville Predators: Discussion Materials," Del Biaggio used "Portability Value" as a key selling feature in an attempt to bring investors onboard with his minority purchase in the team.
At one point, the piece states that "the NHL has already indicated that this is Nashville's last chance."
In short, the "value" in the Predators franchise was in its ability to be "flipped." A bidding war was what Boots was after, with "Hamilton, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Winnipeg, among others" listed as likely candidates to "bid hard to attract an NHL team."
According to the presentation: "These cities will offer exceptional arena deals for an NHL team and potentially superior corporate support and fan base than Nashville."
("As an example, Kansas City has already made a very compelling offer.")
Bankrupt Boots saw the Predators as one thing: "A portable team." That made them an asset, especially when he could come in at the ground floor, take on very little risk and buy in without any real test of his financial mettle.
The final page of the brief presentation offers a grim portrait of what the financial situation would look like in Nashville should the team's attendance settle on 13,000 a game. It includes an annual $2-million payment to Del Biaggio's group, Forecheck Holdings:
2008-09 projectionsUnder Cumulative Net Cash Flow, the figure balloons from $15.7-million in the red after next season to $50-million by 2011-12.
Team Revenues: $55.4-million
Arena Revenues: $10.1-million
Total Revenues: $65.5-million
Team Expenses: $68.1-million
Interest Expense: $3.7-million
Payment to Forecheck: $2-million
Total Interest: $5.7-million
Deprec. and Amort.: $13-million
Net Profit: -$21.3-million
Net Cash Flow: -$9.8-million
A sinking ship, in other words.
One other note of interest from that page, by way of blogger Dirk Hoag, is that in 2010-11, Del Biaggio's projections make an allowance for a one-time $15-million expansion fee as part of team revenues. The figure would be the equivalent of a $450-million windfall divided among the 30 existing franchises.
This wasn't the only Boots-related news of the weekend, either.
The Tennessean reported on Saturday that Nashville's local group, led by David Freeman, has offered up nearly $10-million to cover Del Biaggio's guarantee to the city. Freeman also said his group has offered to buy Boots's $25-million stake in the team "at a reduced price."
As for a scenario involving a new investor purchasing that share via a bankruptcy trustee, Freeman said they would do so without the extensive privileges Del Biaggio was granted.
On Sunday morning, meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury-News continued its coverage of the saga by picking through the latest allegations against Del Biaggio. In addition to more legal trouble, he may owe nearly $1.5-million to three casinos, one source said.
Additionally, the paper reported, "interviews and court records show Del Biaggio risked large sums on some very speculative deals that haven't paid off."
I imagine the Predators are on that list.