Predators, Nashville Strike New Lease Deal, Will Include Higher Ticket Surcharges
In a deal that cements the Predators' future in Nashville "for the next several years, Mayor Karl Dean agreed to pay the hockey club up to $8.4 million annually in subsidies and incentives to operate Bridgestone Arena," according to Nate Rau of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. The deal includes "higher ticket surcharges to pay for improvements to the arena, such as new seats and a revamped entrance on the building's south side, and a promise from the city for a new youth hockey rink that also could become a practice facility for the Predators." Predators COO Sean Henry said that the team "was willing to sacrifice operating dollars in exchange for the capital investments the city will make in the arena thanks to the new seat user charge." Henry: "It gives us better footing, I think, over the long term because the partnership is stronger." Rau noted under the current deal, the Nashville Metro Council "pays the Predators $7.8 million in subsidies and [incentives] to operate Bridgestone Arena." Consumers "pay $1.75 in a ticket surcharge at hockey games at the arena, and $2 in surcharge for other events." Under the new deal, Metro "will pay up to $8.4 million, but $2.3 million of that will come from state sales taxes generated at the arena." Consumers "will pay up to $2 more -- $3.75 in a ticket surcharge for hockey games, and $4 for other events." The money "will be used to improve" Bridgestone Arena. The new deal guarantees the Predators $6.1M "out of its general fund, where under the current deal it guarantees" $7.3M. However, the Predators and sister company Powers Management "can earn extra public dollars by running the arena efficiently and booking more non-hockey events." The Nashville Metro Sports Authority Board "will consider the lease changes at next Friday's meeting," and the Metro Council "will have to approve the new seat user charge" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/23).