Predators, Metro Nashville Close To New Lease Agreement For Bridgestone Arena
The Predators and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s office are "close to completing negotiations over a new Bridgestone Arena lease deal, which will diminish the city’s subsidy to the hockey team in the short term in favor of an incentive-laden deal" built to last through '28, according to Nate Rau of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Predators CEO Jeff Cogen offered "little detail, but said the new deal would provide incentives for the local ownership group" and Metro Nashville to "split incremental revenue increases generated at the downtown building." The team yesterday released the economic impact report, which indicated that the venue has an "annual economic impact of $410 million and has created 2,350 local jobs." Cogen said that the report "demonstrated the value of the arena and the hockey team to the local economy." Even still, he acknowledged that the new lease agreement "will diminish the guaranteed public dollars going to the local owners." Cogen said that negotiations are about 80% complete, and the two sides "planned to meet again later in the day." In '07, Metro Nashville and Predators' ownership, led by former Chair David Freeman, struck a deal that "pays the ownership group $7.8 million annually in subsidies, management fees and incentives." Though both sides claim that the deal "was a success, things have changed over the past five years." The sagging economy "has taken a toll on Metro’s budget, and the way Metro funds the subsidy has changed as well." The economic impact study showed that the "total public sector profit" since the '07 arena deal has been $25.5M. The Predators receive "more than $12 million annually in public dollars from Metro and the state" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 3/29).