At mid-point, the Nashville Predators are on track to fail to put the minimum 14,000 fans per match in the seats for the third season running. Meeting that minimum qualifies the team for the NHL's revenue sharing plan: that's free money spread around to small market teams like Nashville from the big market teams. That windfall is so big that Predators owners tell the Tennessean that they are going to buy thousands of their franchise's own tickets to get themselves up to the 14,000 average.
The Metro Sports Authority and their yell leader, mostly-Bellevue-and-only-sometimes-at-Large council member Charlie Tygard, try to reassure the Tennessean that everything is fine and that this will not cost Nashville any money. But these are the kinds of financial burdens that motivate professional sports teams to renegotiate contracts with cities. It may not cost Nashville anything right now, but this will likely come back to haunt us when the Predators have absorbed enough blows and demand the bargaining table to negotiate away their rising costs, as they did with Karl Dean not too long ago.
The more the Predators buy up their own tickets, the less disposable income they have in the future and chances increase that they will trap us into new leases just as ill-advised as the old ones (any lease that leaves Nashville with the rationale, "What else can we do?" is stupid). And, once again, the blame goes to their fan base for failing to buy the tickets.