Enough posturing. Enough cat-and-mouse. It’s time for Karl Dean and the Metropolitan Government to step up to the plate and do what it takes to keep this Predators team in Nashville.
Now I know that this won’t be an altogether popular opinion. But it’s the right one. Right now, Nashville is on a distinctly upward and positive trajectory. It all started back in the 90′s, when we landed the Titans and the Predators. Crime was decreasing downtown. We landed a few corporate headquarters. Developers and locals alike discovered the magic that was happening inside the 40/65 loop. We’re growing like crazy. Nashville is hot – #1 on lists like Smartest Places to Live, Best Cities for Corporate Relocations, and Highest Quality of Life. And you know what? You don’t stay on those lists when your professional hockey team packs their bags for Canada, Kansas City, or anywhere else. Especially when your signature downtown ballpark for your AAA baseball team has already fallen through the cracks. (But don’t worry, because Memphis – yes, Memphis – pulled off a downtown ballpark for their baseball team with no problem.) And then of course there’s the high profile corporate office deals (think Verizon) that have bypassed downtown for Williamson County recently. And, oh yeah, crime actually is going up a little bit, and our schools still suck, and everything else that’s going on.
Nashville needs a win right now, not the morale-killing kick in the pants of losing 50% of our professional sports in one fell swoop. We need a win. We need the Predators here, giving it another go, with a local ownership that can reach out to the business community and get them to buy in. We need this!
Now the Preds can’t have a blank check from Metro. I understand that. But think about all the great things that are happening downtown right now. All the revitalization, and development, and everything else. That’s all diminished if we lose the hockey team, the anchor of our downtown strip. Sadly, the Music City Center is still up in the air, so we can’t count on that, either. So Metro needs to work out a deal, a five- or ten-year deal, to give the Preds another chance, with a different owner, to try to make it work. If five or ten years from now they still can’t do it? Well, then move to Kansas City or Canada or whatever. But not yet. Step it up, Metro. Give them what they need. Do it and don’t look back. In ten years, you’ll know it was the right decision.
One of the things I’ve always really liked about Nashville is that it’s a great city to play golf in. Now, I don’t know if any of the other MetBloggers are golfers (I don’t think they are), but my experience has been that it’s generally really easy and really cheap to play a good round of golf in this town. I’m originally from Atlanta, where all the public golf courses are terrible and overcrowded, so the fact that I’m able to go out to McCabe Park Golf Course and play nine holes for $10 borders on the miraculous.
For the almost seven years McCabe has been my home course, since I’ve never lived more than a mile or so from the clubhouse. But yesterday, McCabe was hosting some sort of tournament, so I wasn’t able to play a late afternoon nine. I was directed instead to Ted Rhodes Golf Course, another Metro-owned and operated facility located between MetroCenter and TSU off of Ed Temple Blvd. I was surprised to learn that I could take 28th Ave. N from the West End area and be there in about seven minutes. I was even more surprised when I teed off – yet another Metro course in great shape (even after a horrendous drought this summer) that’s accessible to anyone for amazingly low greens fees.
Richard Lawson has a great analysis of the complicated cost burden of housing the Predators at the arena.
It’s a good read. It’s also very complicated. I am going to have to read it again tonight … and maybe again after that.
So what do you all think about the possibility of the Sounds stadium in Franklin? Bob Krumm brings it up over on MusicCityBloggers.com but since we’ve had a few discussions about it here, I thought I’d get our readers’ perspectives, too.
Is it a weird idea? Are you, like Bob K, thinking about the tax burden? Or are you thinking about the convenience of a pre-game dinner at Wild Noodles? (Sorry, I’m partial to their Thai peanut salad.)
They said it couldn’t be done. They said the team was definitely moving to Canada. But the Research in Motion CEO may have gone one step too far by selling season tickets for the Preds in Canada. For that and many other reasons, it seems that momentum in the fight to purchase the Nashville Predators has swung back in the direction of a local ownership group. Though the deal is far from done, the local group has signed an LOI and gone hard with $10 million to buy the Predators from Leipold. Here’s hoping…
Time for a real Debbie Downer moment, here. I went by the predators rally yesterday, mostly just to document it for posterity’s sake. I went in for a few minutes, took some pictures, and left. I’m sorry, but honestly? I just can’t really get that motivated or excited about the future of the Predators. I like hockey, I really do. I like sports. I like going to Hockey games — they’re loads of fun. But for a variety of reasons, I don’t really find it to be that big of a deal. I think it would be bad for the city economically if they left, so to that extent I think it’s important that they stay. But I find it difficult to get too worked up about it.
I guess as I sat there in there watching the arena filled with people patting themselves on the back for buying over 700 season tickets, I couldn’t help wondering if our priorities are a little out of whack, as my thoughts turn to the various URA meetings and forums on affordable housing and homelessness I’ve attended over the last couple of weeks. We can get ourselves worked up into a fervor over the prospect of losing the Predators or gaining a baseball stadium, but the extent of our interest regarding the homeless amounts to “why don’t we just arrest them all”. There was a lot of talk about “community” and “coming together” at the rally. I dunno, the contrast of this mass hysteria to the yawning apathy at the other events was striking.
I think a lot of it has to do with Nashville’s chronic inferiority complex. A predominant theme of this latest crisis and the rally was “we’re going to show everyone that we are a hockey town.” But if our private ticket purchases and attendance are so low, you know … maybe we’re not, actually. Maybe we’re not a hockey town. Who cares? I like hockey, but not enough to make it some sort of grand civic crisis to convince the town that it’s really important that we have hockey. If we can get a private consortium to buy the team, take the reigns and pay the bills, then hey, go for it.
Do I want a hockey team in Nashville? Sure, but call me when we’ve got affordable housing for those who need it, homeless shelters that are worth a shit, public bathrooms, parks that aren’t flooded with people that have nowhere else to go. Let’s start there and work our way up. Then we can worry about hockey teams and baseball stadiums.
You may begin flaming me below:
The installation of Ghost Ballet continues on the bank of the Cumberland at a Briley Parkwayian pace.
I figure we’ve spent a good five hundred bucks of the $250,000 earmarked on the project for scrap metal and a little acetylene work.
It is officially true that the new state bird of Tennessee is the crane.
An unfortunate side effect of the lackadaisical pace of construction is that someone has already tagged a major piece of the sculpture with some half-assed grafitti. In retrospect, it might actually have improved it.
While I was down there, I thought I’d bike over to LP Field to see the tent city waiting for Titans single game tickets that the media has been all hysterical about. Maybe they were all taking their tents back to the car or it was breakfast time, but 1 1/2 hours before the tickets were due to go on sale I only counted 13 people in line. Maybe they got wise and decided to just go home and use the internet. Like me.
I’ve been trying to keep an eye on the press coverage of the Predators’ potential relocation, and especially interesting to me are the articles and columns written by our friends over the border in Canada. Consider this recent quote:
The NHL is still stuck with a dead franchise in a disinterested market. Privately, people throughout the league have long acknowledged the inevitability of losing Nashville, in large part because the owners of “have” teams were sick of throwing shared revenue down a black hole.
Now it may be true that league owners have griped amongst themselves about sharing revenue with a money-losing team like Nashville. But I don’t think we have a “dead franchise in a disinterested market.” Far from it. Nashville continues to grow wildly, largely due to transplants from hockey-embracing cities, and if the Preds would spend some time marketing the team instead of re-reading their lease for out clauses they might be able to capitalize on that growth.
Furthermore, it’s no secret that around two-thirds of Preds season ticket holders are individual fans rather than corporate accounts. Which speaks to an important fact: There are more than enough die-hard hockey fans in the city to keep us afloat, but but only if the Predators and Craig Leipold do some serious outreach to the business community and actually sell the corporate crowd more season tickets.
Along those lines, I am glad to hear that fans are staging a rally next month to encourage season ticket sales. And in fact, there have already been over 1,000 new season tickets sold this year. I’m entirely convinced that Nashvillians can support this team well enough to keep them in our fair city for years to come. Last year’s average attendance was less than 200 seats off of the 14,000 necessary to restrict the exit clause in the team’s lease. Add that to the very real possibility that Balsillie will not be able to place the team in Hamilton due to its proximity to the Toronto and Buffalo franchises, and I would say the odds of keeping the Preds as our home team are not unmanageable.
Pacman Jones has been charged with two felony counts related to the shooting in Vegas a few months ago. Details here. Word is that the Georgia prosecutor on the case he was involved with down there will now reopen charges against Pacman in that state as well.
I’m guessing ol’ Pacman won’t be playing NFL football for a long, long time.