Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the NashvillePost.com,
Thursday’s rally to drive ticket sales for the Nashville Predators seems certain to draw legions of fans, but it may not have the desired effect in a critical area for the team – companies buying tickets.
Sources say that the all-day effort, which will be broadcast live on sports talk radio 104.5 The Zone, may be getting off the message that Nashville’s corporate community needs to step up more and buy the pricier tickets in the lower bowl….
As of today, season ticket sales were about 7,452. Last year, the final season ticket number was 8,758. Of current sales, 1,201 are new, according to figures obtained by NashvillePost.com. Of those, 467 are to businesses. That’s 38.9%, a little higher than the 35 percent of ticket sales last year to businesses, a good indicator that sales are moving in the direction the team has wanted for years.
from the Tennessean,
The Predators brought three more players back into the fold Monday but still have moves to make in order to reach the minimum salary cap of $34.3 million by Oct. 4….
Predators General Manager David Poile said some of that deficit will be made up by player bonuses, which count toward the cap at the start of the season. But it’s also likely the Predators will make a trade or sign another player before the start of the regular season Oct. 4.
“There’s going to have be another move in there,’’ Poile said. “It could be a trade or something like that, but we certainly have some more flexibility to add some salary to get to the league minimum.
“That puts us, I hope, in a very enviable position to attract some players and or teams to talk to us between now and the start of the season.’‘
from the Tennessean,
The Predators, who finished last season with an average of 13,815 paid fans per game, are trying to increase their ticket base for the coming season.
An average of 14,000 paid fans per game would keep the team’s lease with the city intact, making it all but impossible for any prospective owner to move the Predators.
An average of 16,000 paid fans per game would allow new ownership to break even, according to David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital LLC and one of the leaders of a local ownership bid.
“The ticket rally is very important. Critical,’’ Freeman said via e-mail. “It will show the NHL whether Nashville is a hockey market or not. It will confirm to our ownership group that our faith and investment in the city is warranted.
from George Richards at the Miami Herald,
‘‘It’s a big loss for Nashville and a big loss for these kids and their families,’’ said Jennifer Miller, a director at the Vanderbilt hospital. ‘When they found out about the trade, it was like, `Are you serious?’ He loves these kids and the kids looked up to him so much. He had such a big heart.
``To them, he could do no wrong. He could walk on water to these kids here.’‘
It’s expected Vokoun—a father of two children—will continue his work once he takes up residence in South Florida. It’s unfortunate, but pain and suffering isn’t restricted to one community.
‘‘Life is not fair,’’ Vokoun said. ``You see kids who are sick, and they did nothing to deserve that. They are just innocent kids with their whole lives in front of them. Yet they’re sick. It’s not fair, that’s for sure.’‘
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
There is something of the tragic-comic hero in Gary Bettman and his manipulation of the sale—or nonsale, as is currently the case—of the Nashville Predators.
So determined is Bettman to prove that his vision of the NHL as a great American sporting presence is unassailable, so determined is he that his handiwork shall be his living monument to himself and the sport, that Bettman has painted himself into a tiny, uncomfortable corner.
How he emerges from this corner—if at all—will say much about his legacy and, indeed, the look and health of the NHL for years to come.
from Elliotte Friedman of the CBC,
I don’t know if that Bettman was kidnapped by aliens or was the greatest living actor not named Edward Norton. But, that commissioner is gone. In his place is a guy standing in the middle of a Nashville street, staring northward with his middle finger up in the air. Yes, this obscene gesture is directed at the hockey fans driving revenue growth since the lockout….
You have to wonder, though, if there is any chance Bettman’s power base is eroding. Not only is he killing a bad that will inflate the value of other teams, but salaries are reaching/surpassing pre-lockout levels. The new minimum of $34.3 million is higher than 10 team payrolls from 2004-05. All-Star and Stanley Cup ratings set all-time lows in the United States. Plus, if he accepts this above-market bid, he can still make the other teams some expansion money by adding Kansas City and Vegas if he wishes.
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
“For Nashville to keep the team and make it a viable team, the number we need to be looking at is 16,000, not 14,000,” David Freeman told The Tennessean. “You don’t want to be at the absolute league minimum on salary cap because I don’t think anybody wants a team that is here but is habitually in last place. Certainly, our investor group, that’s not what we want, either.
“So to have a team that’s also above the league minimum salary cap, we’re right back to that 16,000 number.”
The salary floor in the NHL next season will be $34.3-million. Right now, the Predators have a payroll of slightly more than $30-million.
from the Tennessean,
The Predators can stay in Nashville by averaging 14,000 in paid attendance this season, but a leader of a local group bidding for the team said the average needs to be 16,000 for owners to break even.
The Predators have never averaged 16,000 — their highest average was 15,364 in 1999-2000 — and with about three months to go until the 2007-08 season begins, they have about 7,000 season-ticket holders. That’s about where they were at this time last year, the team said.
from the Tennessean,
So when it was time to sign a new contract last month, Nichol had a difficult decision: Should he stay in Music City despite the uncertainty of the franchise’s situation following this season, or should he hit the open market and find a more stable destination?
In the end, he decided that sticking with a city, an organization and teammates he appreciated outweighed the fear of the unknown.
From AM570 News,
It was a very frank discussion in an exclusive interview with Jim Balsillie’s lawyer Richard Rodier on 570’s Prime Time Sports last night.
Rodier says Commissioner Gary Bettman is against having more teams in Canada, and believes his client Jim Balisille is being treated differently because of his desire to move the Nashville Predators to Hamilton.
During the interview Rodier says he believes a gag order has been put into place, covering the NHL’s Board of Governors regarding the deal.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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