The Nashville Predators today delivered written notice to the Sports Authority of Metropolitan Government (as required by Section 2.3 (b) of its license agreement) that the club reserves the right to cancel the license agreement at the end of its 2007-08 NHL hockey season if the average number of tickets sold to home games played at the Sommet Center (excluding exhibition and preseason games) during the “cure season” does not equal or exceed 14,000 per game.
Predators owner Craig Leipold issued the following statement: “Since announcing the sale of the Predators to Jim Balsillie [May 24, 2007], I have been encouraged for the Nashville community, by the positive response and feedback of fans and business leaders. When I met last week with representatives of the ‘Our Team’ coalition, it was very clear that they understood this notice would be served and, in fact, welcomed it as an important part of the challenge of increasing attendance at Predators games.
“As the Predators owner, I have the responsibility of protecting the short and long-term interests of the franchise. I am confident that this is the appropriate course of action for the franchise. This clause provides important protection to insure that the club remains viable in Nashville.
“Since our inception, the Predators have offered some of the lowest ticket prices in the National Hockey League. Yet we attracted less than 14,000 paid ticketholders in each of our last five seasons and the team lost $15 million last season, despite a team that produced 110 points, the third-most in the NHL. Additionally, the significance of maintaining a foundation of 14,000 average paid tickets cannot be overstated, given that Nashville is also dependent on the NHL revenue-sharing program that requires an average of 14,000 paid tickets per game. The Predators cannot afford to fall short of the attendance requirements to qualify for revenue sharing.
“Our hope remains that the combination of passionate fans that we know this team has, along with renewed efforts of the business community, will enable the franchise to meet the necessary goals to make the franchise successful on and off the ice in Nashville.”