Thursday, August 23, 2007

Predator deal in peril?

The local consortium that apparently wishes to purchase the Nashville Predators are already making a few demands on the Nashville civic government, but as timing would have it they don't actually have anybody to talk to at the moment.

The Tennessean newspaper is reporting that the group has put off its lease change proposals (demands?) until a new Civic government is elected and put in place next month.

The controversial requests included some financial backing from the City of Nashville to keep the Predators part of the Music city scene.

The Tennessean reported the following conditions as part of the plan for local ownership to operate a team in Nashville.

The local coalition's initial proposals for changes in the lease between Metro and the Predators were made public last week and included the following, according to Freeman:

• About $3 million from the city that would be used to help minimize past losses;

• Full responsibility for incentives to improve financial performance of the arena;

• A guarantee from the city of an average 14,000 in paid attendance per game each season so the club does not lose its substantial NHL revenue-sharing rights, in exchange for eliminating any right for the team to ever leave Nashville.

The idea of attendance guarantees and cash injections isn't sitting too well with a few of the local politicians.

Nashville councillor Michael Craddock doesn't have anything against the Predators and feels that they are an important asset for the city to have but he's decidedly not inclined to start funding the NHL franchise just for the sake of having a home team to root for.

"That's one of those quality of life venues that great cities are about, so we need to keep them here, but not on the back of the taxpayers."

Considering the nature of the potential ownerships requests, it would seem that there is a wide bit of water to cover before the two sides are rowing at he same time.

The latest twist in the Preds saga comes as the Preds prepare to head for training camp, a team unwanted by their current owner Craig Leipold and now to be used as a bargaining chip by the crew that wants to purchase them.

It makes you wonder if perhaps Gary Bettman might like to keep Jim Balsillies' number handy, he at least has cash and few demands, other than the chance to take the team where it will be a guaranteed success and won't need a nickle of support from local government.

The latest suitors seem to have little of one and are rather heavy on the other.

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