Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Daily News Journal,
Without question, it was a feel-good day for the franchise, the local hockey community and the Predators themselves.
Chances are, though, it accomplished little, if anything.
After all, this was not the first time the Predators held a ticket drive. Back in 1997, they needed 12,000 commitments before the franchise was approved by the NHL commissioner and its board of governors. Every day for weeks the count was updated until that number was reached and Middle Tennessee’s place on the professional sports map was secured.
Then what happened? Within three or four years, the number of Predators’ season-ticket holders had dropped by more than one-third.
Let’s face it: Ticket drives (or any sort of drive, for that matter) are effective only to a point. Everyone likes to feel as if they are a part of something, but rarely do such tactics produce any sort of long-lasting results.
Geez, I leave the computer for an hour and have about 30 emails asking me about this from Dwayne…
According to a source, the Preds have entered into a letter of intent with a local group in Nashville to have the negotiation rights to buy the Preds…
Not true folks, could be down the road but not true at this time… One more things folks, you won’t find that written on his blog, because he deleted it. No, I can’t believe that…ha!
added 5:26pm, from the Tennessean,
The result of today’s meeting is that Nashville has the opportunity to move very quickly to retain the Predators and to do so under local ownership,” said David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital LLC and one of the coalition leaders.
“While we have not yet signed a purchase agreement, our discussions were very encouraging for Nashville if we can move quickly and decisively to ensure the club’s long-term financial stability.”
The Nashville Predators avoided salary arbitration with Vern Fiddler on Wednesday, signing the forward to a US$1.7-million, two-year contract.
from the Tennessean,
The next step in the sale of the Predators could come as early as today.
Sources familiar with the situation confirmed late Tuesday that current owner Craig Leipold and members of a Nashville group which has bid for the team will travel to New York this morning to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
It is believed Leipold plans to sign a letter of intent to sell the Predators to either the local group or to California-based businessman William “Boots” Del Biaggio III.
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.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com