Thursday, January 22, 2009

Preds fans: Bail you out once, shame on me. Can't get bailed out again

Either Nashville's hockey fan base has failed us again or Nashville simply lacks the fan base to support an NHL hockey team. Either way, it is fanantical failure.

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.


  1. I respect your opinion and normally agree with it.

    But this post reminds me of the time you criticized the Predators for not selling out a playoff game that the Preds ended up selling out (not only did they sell it out, their seats were full, while their Stanley Cup champion opponent's seats were not).

    You talk about a fanatical failure and a windfall that is so great, but that is false and you are ignoring the facts.

    The facts: in an unprecedented and horrific economy that is forcing families to shed entertainment from their budgets first, the Predators ticket sales have so far INCREASED from last year and, while they are below 14,000 at this point, they still have an excellent chance to meet that goal in a year when they have not yet at all been in the playoff race.

    That is remarkable. That is positive progress. You just don't want to see it.

    Also, the Preds have never failed to meet the requirements for revenue sharing in the past. They met the minimum last year (and were below it at this time of the year last year--with more ground to gain than now). The minimum has just increased.

    I don't have a problem with people being against pro sports receiving public dollars, but at least stop ignoring the reality of the situation (again).

  2. Well, we were shocked to see a nearly full arena at the Monday night Preds game ... weeknights are usually attendance duds and while Monday *was* a holiday, it was nonetheless a school night.

    I think the Preds sucky on ice performance is going to have to change if attendance is going to stay consistently strong. I still believe hockey games are a fantastic value for the dollar, and where we park (at the United Methodist Publishing House, just a short walk from the arena), parking is $4. If you don't indulge in $8 beers and $10 hamburgers it's possible to take the kids out to a pro sporting event without having to break the bank.

    The question is: are you going to do that when the team keeps LOSING???!!!