Skip to main content

Local Boys + Boots = New Preds Ownership

This afternoon there was a press conference at the Sommet Center for the announcement of a Letter of Intent (including a $10 million deposit) which has now been signed between current Predators owner Craig Leipold and the (mostly) local ownership headed up by entrepreneur David Freeman, to sell the team for $193 million. The big news today is the revealing of the "out of town" money which bolstered the financial package being put together.

As it turns out, the mystery outsider is none other than "Boots" Del Biaggio, who had put his own bid in for the Predators previously, but instead becomes a partner with a small group of Nashville investors. Major kudos to the folks at the Nashville Post, who anticipated just this scenario working out over three weeks ago. So here's a quick recap of the presser:
Craig Leipold kicked things off by emphasizing that throughout this process that kicked off in May, Nashville had the chance to keep the Predators by meeting attendance guidelines, but that Balsillie's efforts to push forward with relocation efforts in Hamilton were surprising, calling Richard Rodier a "rogue lawyer" at one point and alleging that Balsillie improperly used the Predators logo in those efforts (is that true, folks?). It was after those developments that Leipold pursued the angle with David Freeman, who rapidly assembled a local group. He spoke highly of Del Biaggio, both in his NHL experience and financial wherewithal, which he anticipates adds greatly to the strength of this new ownership team.
He also thanked his front office staff who kept working hard under difficult circumstances, and the "Our Team Nashville" organization for its efforts in boosting season ticket sales. He also mentioned that the goal here is to close the deal by the end of September, right before the start of the regular season.

David Freeman then took to the mike, and took questions. Some of the highlights:
1) There are eight partners in the new ownership group, seven of which are local. Outside of Freeman and Del Biaggio, Herb Fritch has been the most visible member of the team. It will be some time before the rest of the group becomes known.
2) He spoke at length thanking the media for their patience in understanding that all they could say for a few weeks was "No Comment" to various inquiries. Note: TIP TO JIM BALSILLIE - hire a spokesman who knows when to keep quiet.
3) Freeman mentioned that he started this work immediately upon hearing May 25 announcement regarding the sale of the team, rather than after the relocation efforts got under way.
4) When asked about what assurances there were that Del Biaggio's presence wouldn't mean a swift relocation to Kansas City, Freeman emphasized that it lies with Nashville to make hockey work, but that a strong group of local business leaders have come forward and put large sums of money into the effort of making it work here. He said flat out, "Del Biaggio is not a threat to Nashville."
5) Freeman's words: "We have no intention of breaking the lease. We want to be here for life." The 14,000 benchmark is critical due to the revenue sharing implications, so the recent push around Nashville Predators season tickets needs to continue.
6) Freeman couldn't speak to the question of renegotiating aspects of the arena lease with the city. Given a mayoral election that is just around the corner, I don't expect much to happen there quickly.
I got pulled away about 30 minutes into the press conference, so don't know if I missed any more fireworks, but the blasts Leipold sent Balsillie and Rodier's way were pretty spirited. In particular, I found the charge about the misuse of the Predators logo interesting - can anyone up north verify whether the Preds logo was used in the season-ticket deposit drive that Balsillie launched?

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…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site,!

The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…