Ownership of the Nashville Predators could change as early as this Friday.
David Freeman, the point man in the group buying the Nashville Predators, told the Downtown Rotary Club that on Monday but events on Thursday could make that reality.
The NHL Board of Governors is expected to approve the Freeman group on Thursday. A special informational meeting with Metro Council is scheduled for Thursday as well. Approval of the new lease on the Sommet Center isn’t expected at that meeting, especially since nothing official has been filed.
But it could provide a “straw poll” that shows whether or not there is going to be significant opposition. No major opposition is expected and the few who express opposition will be given their due before the deal is approved in a formal process in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the local group will have the confidence to proceed with closing.
The local group’s representatives, however, have pulled a page out of Lou Holtz’s handbook for downplaying chances of victory with Metro Council and the Metro Sports Authority. But few believe the proposed new lease will fail in Council or with the authority.
Freeman said on Monday the group wanted to get the ownership change done so team management could focus and new marketing people could be hired.
The team has been without two marketing and advertising staffers for weeks and Steve Violetta, executive vice president, announced he’s leaving for the Detroit Red Wings.
Apparently, too, current owner Craig Leipold gave the local group a month extension to get a deal worked out with Metro and that is nearing the end. “It would be ungrateful to Craig” if the group didn’t close by the end of this month, Freeman said.
In addition, Leipold is contemplating other business investments, one of which could be in Nashville, and closing the sale allows him to move forward on those.