SBD/Issue 126/Franchises

Preds Waive Early Termination Rights, Will Stay Put Until '12

Predators Will Remain In Nashville
For At Least Two More Years

The Predators will remain in Nashville "for at least two more years" after the team's ownership group Friday said that it has "reached an agreement with the Metro Sports Authority, which serves as the city's landlord at Bridgestone Arena," according to Nate Rau of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. The team largely agreed to Sports Authority board member Lauren Brisky's recommendations, "most notably that the ownership group would waive its early termination clause through June 2012." The team "could have left Nashville as early as May 1." In addition to "agreeing not to enact the early termination clause, the remaining members of the local ownership group also agreed to sign pledges to cover" Majority Owner David Freeman's $31.2M personal guarantee to the city. Rau notes the Predators and the Sports Authority "had been in negotiations in recent months to address a $3.3[M] federal tax lien against" Freeman. Predators Chair Tom Cigarran Friday "pledged that the new ownership group would not be back in front of the Sports Authority for financial concerns any time soon." Cigarran: "We're continuing to fund the team, put more money into the team. We want this team to be here for a long time"  (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 3/13).

EXTENDING THEIR STAY: In Hamilton, Garry McKay noted the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs Friday "exercised their final three-year option to stay" at Copps Coliseum. The Bulldogs last year "faced the prospect of being kicked out of Copps" if RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie "had been successful in buying the Phoenix Coyotes and moving them" to Hamilton. Bulldogs Owner Michael Andlauer "reaffirmed that the club wouldn't stand in the way of an NHL team coming" to Hamilton, but "pointed out he also had to be fair to the American Hockey League once the Dogs have committed to play, and a schedule has been drawn up" (Hamilton SPECTATOR, 3/13).

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