Archive for May, 2007

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On Vacation

May 26, 2007

I’m going on vacation for the week (Nags Head NC) so I will not be posting for a while…but that doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten about our Preds…c’mon guys…make those calls to the NHL and sign this online petition HERE.

Lets Save Our Preds!!!

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There Is Hope!

May 24, 2007

This is from a fellow Predators fan…

Okay, hockey fans. I lost sleep last night over the fact that our (proposed) new owner will certainly have an interest in moving the team from Nashville. So, I called the NHL corporate offices, not expecting them to care of my concern. The operator connected me with someone in their Communications/PR section. I explained I am a passionate hockey fan in Nashville, a long-time season ticket holder, and that I would like to see the NHL do anything it can do to ensure that the team stays in Nashville-be it NOT approving the sale of the team OR in NOT approving a move.

Oddly enough, the man I spoke with said that when Mr. Balsillie proposed to buy the Penguins a year ago, they received countless calls from Pittsburgh fans urging the NHL and the Commissioner to ensure hockey would stay in Pittsburgh. They logged all the calls, and passed a summary of the calls along to the Commissioner. He said that the calls make a difference. On the off chance that the expression of passionate fans about the Nashville Predators might make a difference, would you please take a few minutes and call the NHL corporate offices to express your opinion? And please pass this request along to others.

The number is 212-789-2000

Thanks for your effort.

Okay guys…maybe we can make a difference. Let’s call this number and let them hear from us down here. Don’t think ‘someone else will call’ YOU need to call. Do it now!!!

Thanks to my Hockey Buddy Jason on the tip…now get to calling people!

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Leipold Emails Ticket Holders…

May 24, 2007

Season ticket holders got an email from current (though not for long) Preds owner Craig Leipold. Here is it in it’s entirety.

Dear Predators’ Season Ticket Holders:

June 25, 2007 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the awarding of the NHL franchise to Nashville that became your Nashville Predators. It’s been an incredible 10-year journey for me. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your strong emotional and financial support of the Nashville Predators. You are a big part of the team’s on-ice success. On behalf of the entire franchise, I thank you.

Ten years ago, I couldn’t call myself a hockey expert. Today, my family and I are as passionate and competitive about the game as the most hardcore fans.

When the franchise began, I said we would run it as a business in order to be successful. We developed a game plan both on and off the ice. We became an integral part of the community, especially downtown Nashville. We made sure we had some fun. And, we indicated that making a huge profit was not a top priority – but we certainly didn’t make plans to lose a significant amount either.

As part of those plans we developed a loyal fan base – every team should be fortunate enough to have a Cell Block 303 and the loudest arena in the league. We built a team that the community could be proud of on and off the ice. We grew our hockey skills exactly as general manager David Poile outlined, using the draft as a foundation and then supplementing at the appropriate times with trades and free agents. We gave back to the community – well over $2 million in grants and in-kind donations through the Nashville Predators Foundation. We created an entertaining in-arena atmosphere for every game night. And, we did it all while keeping our ticket prices near the bottom of the league.

Unfortunately, the success on the ice has not translated to success for me as business owner.

Here are just a few facts as to why:

* The Nashville Predators tallied up 216 points in the last two seasons, fifth most in the NHL, yet because of below-average attendance, the team will still have a real cash loss of $27 million during that time. Additionally, that loss is despite receiving the most money in the league from revenue sharing. Over the last five years, the team has lost over $60 million.
* We’ve invested heavily in sales and marketing efforts, spending over $50 million in 10 years, most of that with locally-based businesses.
* Our average regular season attendance this past season was 13,589, up from the year before, but still 2,000 below the NHL average. A low turnout, combined with a low ticket price results in a poor financial situation.
* The new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement with revenue sharing is not a cure-all. Each local market must still support its local team. In addition, this attendance does not qualify us for our full revenue sharing allocation under the collective bargaining agreement.
* While individual fan support has always been strong, we’ve worked aggressively to increase our local business support since Season Four. We’ve tried a variety of approaches with minimal success. Our records show today that corporate support for the Nashville Predators makes up about 35% of our season ticket base. The average in other markets is around 60%. During our first two years, approximately 4,000 businesses owned season tickets. Today, only 1,800 businesses have season tickets.

While my heart and my love of the game tell me we can still be successful, the facts outlined above suggest otherwise. I’ve reached the only possible conclusion and it’s one of the most difficult decisions of my personal and professional life.

Later today, I am announcing an agreement to sell the Nashville Predators franchise and Powers Management to Jim Balsillie. We plan for the sale to be final in early July after a short period of due diligence and approval from the NHL Board of Governors.

I’ve carried the franchise as far as it can go from a business standpoint. It has been well-reported that we have attempted to attract local ownership since 2002. The truth is, we had only one serious inquiry in that time from someone who was interested in a small minority share of the team. Jim Balsillie is interested in full ownership.

It’s time to give someone else a chance to take the Nashville Predators to the next level in terms of local business support. Last week’s announcement that the Sommet Group has signed on as a naming rights partner for the arena is a strong first step in the right direction. The new energy and leadership of Jim Balsillie will be another.

Jim Balsillie is co-CEO of Research in Motion, the company which developed the Blackberry device. He is an avid hockey fan who still plays recreationally. I know he is dedicated to putting a great team on the ice.

The past 10 years have laid a foundation, but there’s still much to be done to both build corporate support and to win a Stanley Cup. I know Jim shares my passion for the game and my commitment to a strong franchise to pursue the greatest trophy in sports.

Despite the financial challenges we faced, owning this franchise has been the thrill of a lifetime. I’ve made many friendships here in Nashville. It’s been an exciting 10 years, and as I move on from the ranks of team ownership, I’ll always remain a fan.

Sincerely,

Craig L. Leipold

I can’t say that I blame Craig…his arguement is complelling and from a financial standpoint it makes sense. Heck…it even looks like he won’t ‘get rich’ from the deal. The one thing I wanted to see in the letter I did not and that was that the team would try to stay in Nashville. This email does not make me feel better about that…it actually makes me feel worse!

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Preds Sold…Freakin Blackberry!

May 24, 2007

balsillie_52257.jpg

I am shocked. I am. But not at all surprised. Perhaps I should have taken what Trump says to heart…”trust no one.” Even as Leipold would repeat, time after time, that he had no intention of moving the franchise somewhere deep inside I did not entirely believe him. Don’t get me wrong I am not sitting here telling you that I saw this coming because I didn’t…no one did. NO ONE!

What does it all mean? Well that has yet to be decided. The only thing we can hope for is that the league puts in place a list of stipulations similar to that of the Pittsburgh deal which would require Jim Balsillie (CEO of the company behind Blackberry) to keep the team here for a certain number of years (a deal in Pittsburgh fell through when the league was going to require him to keep the team there for seven years regardless if a deal on a new arena was reached). My gut tells me though that he has talked to the league already and doesn’t foresee those stumbling blocks.

Right now this is all unclear. Perhaps it will become clear at the press conference scheduled for today. Right now it’s all fuzzy…kind of like the morning after that party freshman year in college when you woke up in a strange room with an awful taste in your mouth…you know what I’m talking about right?

I knew there was a reason I went with my TREO!!!

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Ducks Win

May 23, 2007

what a finish…what a series…it’s going to be a great final!

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Uhhhh…did you see that?

May 23, 2007

A beauty of a powerplay goal by the Wings! Wow!!!

Now the Ducks take another penalty…it’s not over yet!

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Watchin’ Ducks & Wings

May 23, 2007

down 4-2 with less than five minutes to play and the Wings won’t die. This is why they have been so good for so long…winning is in their blood and they hate losing. The D is pinching up and they are making Giguere make huge saves. Should be a great finish!