Thursday, September 15, 2011

A textbook example of how the harsh light of media attention can alter a local pro sport's team irresponsible behavior

NewsChannel5 has been the only news media outlet raising questions about the Nashville Predators' stewardship of contracts with arena vendors that were not maximizing resources for Metro taxpayers. Tonight NewsChannel5 was the only news media outlet reporting that the hockey club has consequently changed its tune:

Nashville Predator team officials are backing off claims about how hard they tried to make sure taxpayers got the best deal at Bridgestone Arena.

They are also scaling back their plans to give a new concessions contract to a National Hockey League insider ....

the Predators president acknowledged the team's original plan probably was not legal. It would have given Delaware North a brand new, no-bid contract -- with a clause that could have extended it to 2043.

Now, after questions raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, the team has scaled that back to just a 12-year extension of the current contract -- in exchange for the company immediately spending more than a million dollars on improvements at the arena.

While other reporters present at an August press conference merely regurgitated what a Preds official said, Phil Williams questioned the official's claims that they had consulted "each and every" concessions company who could have competed with the Preds' hand-picked concessionaire. When Williams confronted the same official today with evidence that he did not, the official denied claiming that he had contacted every other company. At that point, Williams cued the video footage of him indeed claiming that he had.

To those of you who wonder why I am so hard on the news media at times, this is exactly why: if they would just put effort into holding powerful people accountable, they might not only keep us informed, but leverage change and catch others in untruths. Journos have to be more than glorified hockey fans.

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