Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tennessean,
Time is becoming a factor in a primarily local group’s bid to buy the Nashville Predators.
The group failed to complete a binding agreement with owner Craig Leipold on Friday as hoped, but believes it will wrap up the extensive paperwork next week….
David Freeman, who’s leading the local group, said delays arose after details of the local group’s proposed changes to the team’s lease with the city became public on Thursday.
The group’s letter of intent and its purchase agreement with Leipold expire in October on a date to be determined. At that point, Leipold could explore other options.
“We would no longer have any kind of agreement in place if the sale doesn’t occur by then,’’ Freeman said.
added 8:59am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Nobody, absolutely nobody, outside of the group that has very tentatively purchased the Nashville Predators believes the NHL can work long-term in that city.
This is a mess that’s going to get worse before the team is shifted to Kansas City, a shame, really, when the best hockey market in the world in southern Ontario is ready, willing and able to welcome another franchise.
from the Tennessean,
If taxpayers don’t pay an additional $3 million per year to support the Nashville Predators hockey arena, a deal to keep the team in town could fall apart, the leader of a local buyers group said Thursday.
David Freeman, CEO of 36 Venture Capital and leader of the group, said the partners are working with the city to have the public money come from sources like sales tax generated by the hockey team.
“We are trying to identify revenue streams that reflect incentives associated with having the Predators in town,” Freeman said. “For example, sales tax revenues generated out of the arena are an appropriate revenue stream to consider donating to this cause because those revenues would disappear without the team.”
Freeman’s comments came late in the day, after Tennessean.com reported on a city analysis that said the buyers group was seeking Sommet Center lease changes that would cost taxpayers $5 million more per year at the city-owned facility.
added 11:59am, from the Tennessean,
The Predators have surpassed last season’s season ticket total.
The team finished Thursday with a total of 8,764 full-season ticket equivalents, topping the 8,758 the Predators finished with in 2005-06.
Predators vice president Steve Violetta said he feels confident Nashville can hit the 9,000 level by Labor Day, and added that ticket sales traditionally pick up in September, just before the season starts.
from the Tennessean,
Predators forward Steve Sullivan continues to make strides in recovering from back surgery, but he might not be at 100 percent when training camp begins Sept. 13.
“He’s making good progress, but at the start of training camp, he might be a little bit questionable to go full bore,’’ Predators Coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday. “When I say full bore, I mean scrimmages and (preseason) games, that kind of thing.’‘...
“He’s taking this injury very seriously in terms of his career and conditioning,’’ Trotz said. “He’s done the right thing by making sure this is going to be taken care of.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
A source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com that Leipold wants to remain in the NHL and that plans are in the works for him to step into an ownership role with the Minnesota Wild after cutting ties with the Preds and when current Wild owner Robert O. Naegele Jr. decides to step away from the business.
Both Leipold and Naegele declined to speak to ESPN.com about their future plans and Leipold did not respond to a specific e-mail query about his plans with the Wild.
Fair enough. But if such a plan is in the works, it would go a long way in explaining Leipold’s reticence to do anything to tick off Bettman, who continues to rule the board of governors with an iron fist, threatening millions of dollars in fines if team officials speak on the record about the ownership debacle unfolding in Nashville.
from the Nashville Predators,
The sale price for the franchise is $193 million. The sale must be approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors. The anticipated closing date for the transaction is no later than September 30, 2007.
“I am thrilled that David Freeman and his local group have joined up with Boots Del Biaggio and come together to purchase the Predators,” Leipold said. “My hope is that their commitment to Nashville will be reciprocated in the form of business and individual support on an ongoing basis to make this franchise successful for the long-term. This is a great day for Predators fans, players and staff!”
added 8:46pm, from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
In the wake of Wednesday’s announcement that a group of Nashville businessmen had signed a binding letter of intent to purchase the Predators, we can’t help but feel that unless these owners find a similarly empowered budgie or parakeet to plant a similar smacker of life on the team, they will be nothing more than caretakers of a team doomed to exist on life support until the moving trucks back up to the arena doors.
Despite all the back-slapping and toasts toward a long future in Nashville that accompanied the announcement, the future of the team is far from secure.
from the Kansas City Star,
A Nashville group planning to sign a letter of intent to buy the Nashville Predators today is expected to include William “Boots” Del Biaggio, who also has a contract to own an NHL team for Kansas City’s Sprint Center.
Del Biaggio could not be reached for comment today, but was in Nashville for the announcement.
The Predators have a long-term lease with the Sommet Center in Nashville, but they must average 14,000 fans per game this season or the lease could be voided.
By being part of the Nashville ownership, Del Biaggio—who has been a minority partner in the San Jose Sharks—would boost his profile and status in the NHL and give him leverage to move the club to Kansas City.
via Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Remember The Spirit of Manitoba? That was the group of Winnipeg businesses that banded together in an attempt to stop the Jets from moving; they too had fans rejoicing at the prospect of pulling the franchise back from the brink of relocation, yet ultimately couldn’t stop the move from coming to pass.
I’m not guaranteeing the same fate for the Predators, but their fans definitely should hold off on the victory celebrations for a while. If history repeats, their darkest day may yet be to come.
from the Tennessean,
Nashville has 24 players it believes should be on the NHL roster — 14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies. Only 23 can be carried on the roster during the regular season.
So if everyone stays healthy as the regular season nears, some kind of trade is likely.
“Something has to give,’’ General Manager David Poile said, adding that movement could come either at the forward or defense positions.
“I could go either way, with the combination of the coaches’ preference as to where we have better players, where we need depth, where we’re healthiest. There could be any number of reasons we pick one player over another — it could be age, could be potential, asset value.’‘
from the Tennessean,
Almost two weeks after a daylong rally generated the sale of 726 season ticket equivalents for the Predators, the team continues to garner interest but is still short of last year’s total.
Since the July 19 event at Sommet Center the Predators have sold an average of 20 a day, according to Steve Violetta, the team’s executive vice president of business affairs….
The season ticket renewal rate is about 73 percent. Historically, Violetta said, it’s from 82 percent to 88 percent, so at least an additional 10 percent in renewals should come.
New season ticket sales are at 2,100 since the sales push begin in March, when the Preds were heading to the playoffs.
The Tennessean also has a story regarding the local investor group trying to purchase the Predators…
Wes Goldstein of CBS Sportsline is passing out summer grades to the NHL teams in the Central Division.
Nashville and Columbus fans, you won’t be happy.
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