Skip to main content

Set the Wayback Machine to January...

In light of the recent news that a local group is mobilizing to form a bid for the Nashville Predators in the event that Jim Balsillie's attempt fails (the letter of intent has a current expiration date of June 30), I was reminded of the scene just a few short months ago, when current owner Craig Leipold made an effort to sell minority ownership in the team to local business interests. When that didn't pan out, Leipold came out in May with the announcement that was selling the whole thing to Balsillie, and was clearly frustrated at not being able to make things work here in Music City.

Is it too late to close the door on that possibility, however? I think not.

Things have changed dramatically over the last few weeks, and I wonder if the stage might be set for just such a transaction now. If the local group is indeed able to muster around $100 million, perhaps a way forward would be to have that group work with Leipold on a shared ownership proposal, that would let Leipold cash in and recover his year-to-year financial losses, while taking advantage of the business support he asked for in January (but is now growing) to help establish long-term support for the team. Exact figures would have to be haggled out by the parties involved, but something like a 49% ownership stake for $100 million (leaving Leipold as the majority owner), or 33% for $60 million could restore Leipold and give the team a stronger foundation to compete from.

This isn't just about dollar signs and season ticket sales coming to Leipold's rescue, however. There would have to be some agreed-upon changes in the marketing side of things before local investors would make their commitment. When I moved here two years ago I was struck by both the lack of a strong advertising presence, and the difficulty in finding Preds games on TV. The billboards that were around town had a variety of players in what can only be described as passport-photo style poses, with phrases like "I live for speed", or "I live for the save." *YAWN* I'm surprised the Preds didn't get blamed for motorists falling asleep at the wheel looking at those things.

Anyways, the point is that for local owners to step in and help, they'll want some assurances that the off-ice business will change, and their input will be essential for that to succeed. This guy, for example, gets it. There is still opportunity to build a winning and profitable NHL franchise in Nashville, if the right parties can be brought together to make it happen.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Social Media, Internet Marketing, and Real, Paying Customers - it really works!

Applying the basic tenets of internet marketing (SEO best practices and social media network building) have helped me grow the readership and engagement over at On The Forecheck tremendously in recent years, but lately I've been wondering if those same techniques could be applied to small- or medium-sized local businesses, to help them drive real, tangible business results.

I'm talking about not just drawing idle hockey fans looking to a blog so they can muse over line combinations, but helping businesses connect with potential customers in ways that otherwise wouldn't occur. Recently, I was able to help make just such a thing happen, and it shows just how great the opportunities are for small, local businesses which may not have the resources or skills available to extend their brand effectively on the internet.