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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing guy for Captain D's. Hockey fan, photographer, and father of 2 awesome boys.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

and so it begins...

A black day indeed.

The sale is not going as fast as they Leipold needed it to, so he is unloading salary and soon-to-be free agents while he can get something for them.

We just unloaded Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen to Philadelphia for a first round pick (they were both about to be unrestricted free agents, so this is better than nothing). They have been signed there to huge long-term contracts. Far more than Nashville would have been able to offer if we had tried.

You have to assume Kariya won't be far behind, and there is no way Forsberg is coming back to Nashville.

What is worse - the fact that we are not going to be well positioned for another cup run is going to make selling those 14,000 magic tickets that much harder.

I don't want to get too pssimistic, but i really feel like our only chances of keeping the team now would be for the sale to Balsillie to be dropped (which i think would only happen if the NHL doesn't want him) and for the local investors to get enough money together to buy the team. But even if that happens, that group won't have enough cash to go after top free agents, and will put together a mediocre team on the ice. Again, fewer ticket sales...

I love the Predators. I love hockey. But outside of a real marketing genius stepping in - and i mean fast - the Predators will be gone. If not this year, then in a few. Right now they just can't be profitable. They were well short of the salary cap last year, and Poile put together a great team with little money - and according to Leipold the team still lost $15mil. Even if we sold out every single game (an extra 3930 seats per game)...and assuming an average sale price of $100 for those missing seats (which it wouldn't be)...that's about an extra $393k in revenue. The Predators need merchandising, licensing, and sponsorship/endorsement deals to survive and they just aren't getting them. Once again, it isn't about the fans. It's about the businesses and the way the team has been run in the environment they have.

Honestly right now i just hope the NHL moves to vegas before the NBA gets there. I know there are a lot of reasons it seems odd, but if they were well marketed (and i think they would be) they would raise the profile of the league in the US. Oh - and the league needs to buy out their contract with Versus and give the games to ESPN/ABC for $100 per game. Less if ESPN/ABC won't take it.


Anonymous said...

I keep hearing this "14,000 magic seats" thing, so I'm wondering whether I'm wrong on this -- isn't Balsillie's sale contingent on him being given exclusive rights to move the franchise as he sees fit independent of the lease clause? I may have misinterpreted the information I read, but I'm pretty sure that was the deal.

Paul Nicholson said...

I never heard that there are any stipulations on moving (one way or the other) in the purchase agreement. In fact, both Balsillie's mouthpiece and Bettman have given lip service saying as of right now the team will not move because a lease is in place and that all new owners are required to keep the team in place for 7 years if a lease is in place. Balsillie of course is betting that the city won't sell the 14,000 seats and he'll move the team next year. But moving the team isn't part of the purchase. I think Balsillie is willing to own the Predators in Nashville for a while (7 years?) if it means he gets is team and can eventually move them.