News Analysis: Preds deal gets closer, maybe

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 4:28pm

News Analysis

Mayor Karl Dean and the local investors trying to buy the Nashville Predators may have moved a millimeter closer to a deal on a new lease on the Sommet Center.

Dean apparently has backed off seeking a five-year commitment to keep the team here and has agreed to three years. That is, if the team loses $20 million in the three years, the Predators can bolt Nashville.

A three-year commitment would seem like a big step and that an announcement would be smooth skating from here. But the pond hasn’t frozen over yet and everyone is treading water.

There may be an agreement in principle but Dean isn’t saying and his office is denying there is a deal.

When and whether anything gets announced is anyone’s guess. For several weeks now, it’s been “close.” The talk has been that a deal would be announced within the next 48 hours. That was 24 hours ago.

What’s the hold up now? No one is saying. A good guess would be that attorneys are pondering it all. And more than likely it’s the city’s attorneys, public and private, who are doing the pondering.

This has been going on since Dean came into office on Sept. 22. With David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital, in the lead, the local guys say they need additional concessions, valued at about $3 million each year, so the team can at least break even and be competitive.

The $20 million isn’t just a random figure. That’s the credit line the investors would have and if they blow through it there would be some difficulties. The ticket sale requirement goes away in the lease but it’s still there with the league in terms of revenue sharing. If the team doesn’t hit the mark, it loses money, which could easily add up to $20 million.

There have been fits and starts that have included some political jockeying, inopportune vacations, a measure of legal wrangling and the distraction from Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie who Predators owner Craig Leipold kicked to the curb.

Predators fans have been sitting on pins and needles waiting for something to happen so any little tidbit whips them into a frenzy as they try to analyze the dearth of information. It also gives Councilman Michael Craddock another opportunity to lament those millionaires buying the team and trying to tap taxpayers for more money.

Filed under: City Business
By: cfree19 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

After all we have been through this summer. This is at least a glimmer of hope. Great job Richard

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Not so hard to lose 20 mill if they want out.The first yr of the deal could cost us 10 mill and they could have a buyer all lined up already.If they can't afford to buy the team they should pass instead of makeing themselves look like panhandlers.Bassilli didn't want anything from us and was paying more money.We have no business being in the middle of this.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 7:00

great, great post id. easy to read. easy to follow. beautiful. well done.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

id, you can't be for real, I now know you post here only to stir the pot, because nobody, I mean nobody, can really be that stupid!

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

My God! Phil Bredesen what you have brought forth on this city continues to fester like a plague. Does anybody in our government understand that if you want to protect the taxpayers you should listen to the guy from Hamilton...If all you got is three years this guy will give you that with out all the subsidies. If they are going to leave in three years what difference does it make who the owner or owners are.....

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

No wonder he wants to build a bunker.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Frank, are you idgaf's brother, or lover. You two really need to get a life.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

or a room!