Friday, November 30, 2007

Predators Sale Approved

Only a couple days after I wrote about how hard it is to buy and sell teams in the NHL, the Nashville Predators sale has been approved by the NHL Board of Governors. Original Nashville owner Craig Leipold is selling the Predators to a group of nine owners. Seven of them are local to Nashville, including their spokesman David Freeman. The problem is the largest shareholder in this partnership is William "Boots" Del Biaggio, who was previously trying to move the Predators to Kansas City and it is unclear where his allegiances lie. The Nashville group is paying $193 million for the team and is on record saying they would be happy to break even on their purchase. In order to do this, they asked for and received concessions from the city of Nashville in a new lease.

What happens if the Predators cannot break even (they couldn't under Leipold)? What happens if the Predators no long qualify for revenue sharing payments from the league (they were the largest beneficiary of revenue sharing last year)? The re-negotiated lease may make things a bit harder to leave Nashville, but I would not be too surprised if that possibility is discussed again before too long. Nashville has not been a market that has generated enough revenue for an NHL team so far.

Here is TSN's story on the approval of the sale.

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