The roller coaster ride continues for the Nashville Predators ownership saga, and when the ride ends is anyone’s guess.
Wednesday, the group seemed on the verge of inking a deal with Mayor Karl Dean for a new incentive-laced lease on the Sommet Center. An afternoon press conference was in the making but was called off when a term sheet was not signed by the ownership group, led by local businessman David Freeman.
According to sources close to the negotiations, one of the investors decided he had a problem with the financial disclosure requirements related to the personal guarantee provision in the deal. The investor didn’t like the potential for his net worth making it into the media. Current owner Craig Leipold has had to provide that information as has Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams.
Sources also said the hold up is that the city presented terms yesterday morning that were worse than what Dean presented last Friday. Those terms have to do with the $2 million cap on the sales-tax revenue, seat surcharges and other revenue the team would receive. Supposedly, that issue had been worked out but the local group went back in yesterday seeking changes.
Dean offered to equally split the revenue until the team reaches $2 million for its share. Metro’s bond counsel, however, has said the cap needs to be in place to protect Metro’s ability to issue bonds for work on the arena.
A spokesperson for the ownership group, Joe Hall, had no comment at press time when contacted for this story.
Dean’s spokesperson Janel Lacy said Wednesday afternoon the offer made by Dean late last week was still on the table.
“As far as I know we are still in the same place we were Friday, yesterday and this morning,” Lacy said.
Meanwhile, Predators fans are weary of the roller coaster ride and just want it settled.
“Either get the deal done, or let’s move to plan B,” said John Fesler, a season ticket holder who has worked to keep the team here. “These delays, and press conferences that never happen are not helping the cause of gaining new corporate clients, when the new ownership takes over.”
The Metro Council is just waiting to see what happens with the mayor.
“For the most part, they’ve been patient,” said Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors.
Neighbors said most of the Council wants to keep the Predators but want the best deal for the city.