Skip to main content

Local hacks take a whack

Thanks to a miserable hatchet job at the Tennessean, Predators fans are left with another round of caterwauling from critics who want to see the team relocated either to Kansas City or Southern Ontario.

Thursday afternoon, the Tennessean broke a "news update" that the prospective ownership group was negotiating changes to the Sommet Center lease that could have Nashville taxpayers paying "$5 million more per year to keep the Predators in Nashville," and "the buyers tried to keep the details from the public." Friday morning the paper came out with a further article which revised the $5 million figure down to $3 million, and included PDF's of the proposal (obtained via a public records request) and two emails, each addressed to the mayoral campaigns of Karl Dean and Bob Clement (obtained by the paper, but how?).

The implication was twofold: first, that the local group was seeking deeper subsidy from the city, and secondly, they were doing it in secret.

Tackling the second issue is straightforward - this is a proposal that's being laid out by the new ownership team, and isn't yet in a finalized form that goes up for public debate. The outgoing mayor of Nashville basically has nothing to do with this process other than to provide some analytical support, so the back-and-forth negotiation hasn't even truly gotten rolling.

The first issue, that being the charge that the new owners are simply looking for handouts from the city, is a much more complicated affair. The biggest oversight in the Tennessean's report is the omission of a critical part of the propsal: that in exchange for management fees from the city, the owners would take over the risk of operating loss at the Sommet Center [note: correction made here].

Quoth the proposal:

"Under the [ed: current] Management Agreement, the Sports Authority is responsible for virtually all capital and operating expenses associated with the operation of the Sommet Center. If "Operating Expenses" for a particular period exceed "Operating Revenues" for that period, the Sports Authority is responsible for that "Operating Loss". If "Operating Revenues" exceed "Operating Expenses", the Sports Authority is entitled to that "Operating Income" for such period. Since entering into the Management Agreement, the Sports Authority has experienced only Operating Losses."

According to the
Nashville City Paper, those Operating Losses have averaged $5 million per year. In the next section down, the proposal says that the Manager (the new ownership group's corporate body, PHC) would be responsible for all Operating Expenses and entitled to all Operating Revenues, subject to some terms that are spelled out in lugubrious detail. David Freeman has also gone on record saying that they are attempting to tie the source and scale of that Management Fee to revenue streams generated by hockey, such as sales tax generated by the facility, etc., rather than simply drawing out of general funds. It's not as simple as them asking for an $X million check to be written to underwrite their hockey team.

The Tennessean makes no mention of the removal of a $5 million Operating Loss from Metro's shoulders as a result of this proposal, only the cost of the Management Fee being requested. Rather than present in practical terms how the deal would likely shake out (which is difficult because some areas are still left open to negotiation), the Tennessean only focuses on what the ownership group is asking for, not what they are offering in return.
Now, of course, the broader portion of the hockey world is picking up the Tennessean's story and writing another round of "hockey can't work in Nashville, why are these locals getting the team instead of Jim Balsillie" articles. For a paper that is trimming staff, perhaps this was a desperate ploy to sell papers with a "businessmen are secretly conspiring to steal your tax dollars!" angle, but even in the best case scenario, they've lined the city up for a repeat of the negative press it's been getting all summer long.

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…