Metro Council approves Predators’ lease amendments

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 10:12pm

Metro Council voted 30-8 at its meeting Tuesday to approve the lease amendment agreement reached by Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Predators’ new ownership group last year.

Calling it the best option available to the city, Metro Council approved a deal that increases the overall subsidy given to the Predators to an estimated maximum of $7.4 million.

“Taxpayer subsidy of pro sports teams is probably not where this city is going to go in the future,” Councilwoman Emily Evans said prior to voting for the resolution and then saying maintaining a tenant for the Sommet Center was at the heart of the deal.

The new agreement is a $3 million increase over the previous contract and will be drawn from Metro’s Hotel Motel Tax.

Among the new perks given to the Predators are a $750,000 rent reduction, more favorable concession and non-NHL advertising revenues and the right to draw more money on revenues garnered from certain special events at the Sommet Center.

Most noticeably, the new agreement provides the team with an annual $3.7 million operating loss cap, a guaranteed $2 million management fee and a $2 million incentive payment should the Predators reach their attendance goals.

All told, the deal maxes at $7.4 million according to the budget proposal turned in by Dean last month.

“We’re just grateful for the effort that’s been put forth by the administration and the Council,” Predators legal representative Chase Cole said. “They both were very deliberate in this process and worked hard, as did we, to make this happen for the city. It’s a great public-private partnership.”

At-large Councilwoman Megan Barry was among those voting against the deal. Council members Michael Craddock, Duane Dominy, Rip Ryman, Robert Duvall, Erica Gilmore, Lonnell Matthews Jr. and Buddy Baker joined her.

“I’m basing my vote tonight if this is the wise way to spend people’s money and taxpayer dollars,” Barry said.

The deal does offer Metro some protections. If the Predators fail to reach an average paid attendance of 14,000 fans for two consecutive year and the owners reach a combined accumulated operating loss of $20 million, the owners can terminate the new lease agreement and presumably leave town.

Doing so will cost the ownership group a fee of $20 million in 2010, $25 million in 2011 and $10 million for every year after that.

The ownership group must also notify the Sports Authority if it assigns the lease to another party or if legal residents of Middle Tennessee ever come to own less than 50 percent of the team.

Because the deal will also be retroactive to last July, Metro will have to pay the new ownership group the difference between the two agreements.

The 14,000 average attendance mark comes against the backdrop of the team averaging about 13,400 fans per game this regular season.

Filed under: City News
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By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I will contribute to the campaign fund of all eight who voted against this deal

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank you Metro Council! GO PREDS!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well I figured idgaf would be the first whiner, but his brother frank brown beat him to it. Kleenex sales should be strong today!

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank you Megan Barry, Michael Craddock, Duane Dominy, Rip Ryman, Robert Duvall, Erica Gilmore, Lonnell Matthews Jr. and Buddy Baker.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

As I told you last week, done deal. Quit whining we live in a democracy and it was not even close. Case closed, move on, nothing to see here....

By: Kosh III on 12/31/69 at 6:00

7.4 million welfare check to a private business, but cutbacks on support to mass transit while gas costs continue to rise. So glad to see we got our priorities straight---NOT!

By: bfra on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Did anyone think enough council members had the GUTS to vote NO?

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

8 idiots did vote no.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Titian you can't even win with class.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It's about time. Id, it was voted, you lost, get over it.By the way, did you read MJB's very interesting take on your moniker yesterday. Hmmm...

By: ChickenMan on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I think they should have made it interesting...make the approval contingent on a win tonight!

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

13,400Wow that's pretty sad.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It's almost as many times you and id whine about the preds papa.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

WHAAAAAA! WHAAAAA!IDGAF TALKING ABOUT CLASS? LOL!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

He calls you "Titian" and then mentions class. Ironic, huh?Well the vote is over, the Preds are here, so why can't we just all get along? lol

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Because they will whine until they find something else to whine about. It must be sad to be that way.

By: ChickenMan on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I heard they told the Council that if they didn't vote the right way, Jordan Tootoo was gonna meet them in the parking lot!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

LOL!!

By: dgamble on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Titan1,I guess it doesn't really matter to you that at really good schools, like Hume Fogg Magnet school, the air conditioning doesn't work, there is peeling paint on the walls, and the cafeteria is so small, the students have to eat in hallways.I tell you what I think, I think all subsidies to sports (HS, MS, Pro) should be stopped until the schools are fixed, the lack of sidewalks is fixed, the problems with storm sewers are fixed, etc. This just confirms my opinion that Nashville Pro-sports fanatics only want what they want - without regard to the costs to anyone else.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dgamble, schools, sidewalks, storm sewers, etc all sucked before professional sports, so try again. Again, it's over, so get over it.

By: Magnum on 12/31/69 at 6:00

“Taxpayer subsidy of pro sports teams is probably not where this city is going to go in the future,” Councilwoman Emily Evans said prior to voting for the resolution and then saying maintaining a tenant for the Sommet Center was at the heart of the deal.Why do they need a tenant if there is supposedly so much convention business out there just waiting for us to build?

By: dgamble on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gdiafante,I did not draw a direct cause and effect relationship between these areas of deficiency and the ridiculous subsidies of rich sports-team owners. I merely stated that it seemed to me to be a better use of limited tax-payer funds on those things that effect the lives of our children, the quality of life of our families in neighborhoods, and the health of the Cumberland River. I'm guessing you don't give a sh/t about any of those things.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You'd be guessing wrong, but you probably already knew that.Try not to make assumptions about me, you really don't have a clue.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Once again...Nashville proves that the surrounding counties are where you want to live! They are just laughing their butts off in Brentwood ....they'll continue to improve their schools and simply buy a ticket to any game they wish to attend, rather than fund this money pit.

By: dgamble on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gdfiante,How about trying to respond to the points I'm making? I'm guessing you don't have a response. Yes, I did already know that.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Oh so because I do not directly address your ramblings I don't have a response?Here's my response: of course it's a better use of funds. But instead of blaming sports fans, you should blame lawmakers. Now, I really could care less if you respond or not, it's a free country.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Oh and by the way, GO PREDS! :)

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

dgamble, you tell me how an arena without a tenant will help the schools.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anna3, I don't believe you, because I have seen some of those people in Brentwood and it would take them years to laugh those big butts off.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Actually Anna, if they're buying tickets, they are funding the "money pit". LOL

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yes anna, thank you for your support.

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

anna3- we'll see who's laughing when me, titan1, and gdiafante aren't spending half our salaries on gas so we can drive 20 minutes into downtown Nashville to see all the attractions!dgamble- I would love more funding to go to the schools, but you have to realize that if the Predators left town there would a lot of problems in that situation. An arena with no tenant (burden of taxpayers to make up loss), loss of 40+ nights of people spending $ in downtown and increasing the city's revenues and helping downtown business, less people downtown on a regular basis = vacancy and eventually loss of certain businesses and more crime, Nashville not being as attractive of a city to businesses thinking of relocated to Nashville... which would increase our budget funding for Schools, Sidewalks, Etc. THANK YOU COUNCIL!!! Go NASHVILLE Predators!!! WIN TONIGHT! WIN THE SERIES!!!

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

30-8, the vote has not changed and the lease is still approved as of 4:20 today. I guess our little board discussions hasn't changed very much