Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Mayor's Offer to the Predators in a Nutshell

From NashPo:
The Mayor is willing to support a proposal which provides $3,000,000 in new resources [to the Nashville Predators] for a total of over $6,700,000 per year for five years for the operation of the arena, plus incentive payments [50% of Metro revenues] for improved performance through the efforts of the local ownership group. In exchange, we have merely requested that the local owners commit to playing hockey in Nashville for at least three years and, should their efforts be unsuccessful, reimburse the Metropolitan Government for the additional funding it provided.
It wasn't too long ago that Metro Council was full of sound and fury over funding the construction of the Symphony Hall to the tune of $5 million over 4 years (Council Member Charlie Tygard even wanted to earmark some of that money for his covetous dream of a new Bellevue Library). If this hockey agreement takes wing, I'll be curious to see how much drama we will see in Metro Council over the considerably higher cost of just convincing a hockey club to stay vs. building new public libraries (I cannot say I've ever heard of a local symphony orchestra threatening to move to another city if they do not get management fees, rent reductions, and performance incentives).

What does the Nashville Symphony have to do with the Nashville Predators? Not much, except that the pro-owners-group City Paper drew an analogy a couple of days ago between public money spent on hockey and that spent on building the Symphony Hall. But it really is an apples and oranges comparison in that the arena was funded many years ago and the Metro spending that we talk about now is extra revenues and modifications to existing contracts for the Predators. All the Symphony was getting was money to build a hall for crying out loud; it was a step-child deal compared to this fight to woo the Predators back into the bed we've made for them over and over again.

How would Nashville respond if the Symphony came back asking for re-negotiations and more money with the threat of leaving? With demands that they commit to stay 3 more years? I seriously doubt it.

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