Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
But the cold fact is, Nashville wasn’t buying what they were selling and Leipold, who had the benefit of one of the most forgiving leases in the history of sports arenas, simply couldn’t make it work.
And that’s the scary part for a great many hockey markets in the U.S and Canada.
Nashville was, and is, bleeding red ink. According to Liepold’s open letter to the hockey fans in that community the team lost $27 million in real cash losses over the last two seasons despite a team that garnered 216 points in the standings over the same time span.
That means one of hockey’s great winners on ice was one of its biggest losers at the gate.
from the Tennessean,
Not to discourage anybody in Nashville, but I think their team is gone,’’ said Ken Campbell, a senior writer at The Hockey News. “You’ve got a Canadian owner who’s passionate about hockey and who has all but publicly said he wants to bring a team to Canada.
“He paid $220 million for the team. Billionaires don’t become billionaires by throwing dollars at money-losing investments, and unfortunately, that’s what the Predators are right now.’‘
Bob McKenzie, a hockey analyst at the Canadian-based TSN network, was pessimistic about Nashville’s chances of holding on to the Predators in the long run.
“I don’t think the prognosis is overly bright,’’ McKenzie said. “I hate to say it, but the Craig Leipold press conference was almost a textbook session on why hockey is not going to make it in Nashville….”
from the NashvillePost.com,
In a letter to Nashville Predators season ticket holders, suite owners and sponsors, team owner Craig Leipold explained why he is selling the team and confirms that it is being sold to Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of Blackberry maker Research in Motion.
In his letter, Leipold stated that the team will have a $27-million real cash loss over the past two seasons because of below average attendance even though the team tallying up a total of 216 points, the fifth best in the NHL.
added 12:58pm, via Bloomberg,
The price ($220M) may show that Balsillie is considering moving the team from Nashville, where its average home crowd of 15,260 ranked eighth from last in the 30-team NHL in attendance this year, said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a Chicago- based sports industry consulting firm.
“This is a very big number for a team in Nashville,’’ Ganis said. “There might be something more here.’‘
from Alan Adams of Sportsnet,
Bettman knows a second NHL team in southern Ontario will work. He knows Canadians live and die for hockey, and Balsillie is exactly the type of owner the NHL needs. He is on the cutting edge of communications technology.
If the NHL doesn’t let Balsillie move the Predators to southern Ontario, then Bettman isn’t Canada-friendly.
It is as simple as that.
added 12:45pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Instead, you have a situation where, two years into the current CBA, franchises in Phoenix and Atlanta and Florida as well as Nashville still can’t operate in the black, or even at the break-even point. And when the day comes that the owners in all those markets say ‘enough’ to the losses, that’s when the migration to points north will occur.
It’s no longer a question of if anymore.
It’s only a question of when.
via Darren Dreger at TSN,
Jim Balsillie is at it again.
After a failed bid to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins, sources tell TSN the co-chief and executive officer of Research In Motion is negotiating to purchase the Nashville Predators.
added 7:29pm, from Nashville Post.com,
The Nashville Predators are being sold.
NashvillePost.com has learned that Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research In Motion (makers of the Blackberry electronic communication device) is purchasing the Predators from Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold. Leipold has owned the club since it first took to the ice in 1998.
According to NashvillePost.com sources, a press conference has been scheduled for tomorrow to announce the sale of the team. At the time of publication of this article, officials from Predators could not be reached for comment.
added 7:50pm, from WTVF,
NewsChannel 5 learned that team owner Craig Leipold has reached an agreement with BlackBerry owner Jim Balsillie to sell the team as soon as paperwork can be completed.
Leipold met with the NHL Board of Governors at 2 p.m. Wednesday in New York, and then told his staff of the developments.
Leipold told the Predators’ front office personnel that the team will remain in Nashville for at least the next season, but made no promised for the future.
added 8:05pm, via the Tennessean,
Nashville Predators owner Craig Leopold has signed a letter of intent to sell the team to an out-of-town buyer, and an announcement in imminent, possibly by the end of the week, according to a source familiar with the deal.
The source said the deal has been in the works for weeks, but the letter of intent does not mean the deal has been finaliaized.
added 8:27pm, via Bloomberg,
Research In Motion Ltd. Co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Balsillie is close to buying the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators for $220 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said.
from the Tennessean,
Nashville Arena will become The Sommet Center today under a naming agreement between the Nashville Predators and Franklin-based Sommet Group, a Predators official said.
The lease between the Predators and Metro allows the NHL team to keep all revenue from naming rights. With talk about the Predators possibly exercising an out-clause in their lease with the city in the coming weeks, the new naming rights deal could be a signal that the team is leaning toward staying in Nashville long term.
from the Nashville City Paper,
“We will look at how we deal with players from everything in terms of discipline to how we play the game in terms of systems to how we want to teach the game,” Trotz said. “I want to go through the same things with my staff that David does when he evaluates this organization.
“It will a process that is continuous throughout the season. I can’t be specific until I have that long meeting with our coaching staff, but everyone is aware that we are going to look at all the things we do as coaches. We ask our players to come back better. We are going to come back better as coaches.”
via The Tennessean,
The Predators have exercised the option years on the contracts of head coach Barry Trotz and his staff.
An official announcement is expected later today.
from the Tennessean,
Nashville will be without a first-round pick for the second consecutive season. It shipped its initial selection — as well as a third-round pick, forward Scottie Upshall and defensive prospect Ryan Parent — to Philadelphia for Forsberg a couple of months ago.
But the Predators are hoping their successful drafting in recent years, their ability to find talent in later rounds and their success in the free-agent market will help make up for the loss of first-round picks in two straight years.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
The big issue in Nashville is not Trotz’s job security, but who will be on his roster next season when he returns. Even if the Predators keep the same budget, re-signing free agents will be difficult, and if the Predators lower their budget, it could be impossible.
Hartnell turned down a three-year, $6.2 million offer before the season and there will be teams that might overpay to land a younger forward with some bite.
If you are Timonen and you look at the economic landscape for defensemen, you are going to believe that you should get $4.5 million-plus a season, particularly when teammate Marek Zidlicky is getting $3.5 million.
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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