Craig Leipold has reached an agreement with BlackBerry owner Jim Balsillie to sell the team as soon as paperwork can be completed.
Leipold met with the NHL Board of Governors at 2 p.m. Wednesday in New York, and then told his staff of the developments.
Leipold told the Predators' front office personnel that the team will remain in Nashville for at least the next season, but made no promised for the future."
Well it looks as if the Predators might be on thin ice. I had fun going to games this year. But I bet the "leaf" that will now own the Predators will be looking to make a switch at the end of 2008-9 season if ticket sales go soft.
The Predators have an opt-out clause in their 30-year lease with the City of Nashville (the owners of the teams’ arena) if the team isn’t happy with their attendance. If the Predators exercise their out-clause they would be free to move to another city at the end of the 2008-09 season
The Predators out-clause is directly linked towards total ticket sales, not number of tickets sold based on building capacity. The club's lease works like this:
• If attendance slips below 14,000 a game this season, the Predators can signal an interest in exercising their Gaylord Entertainment Center escape clause two months after this hockey season ends.
• Average attendance would have to fall below 14,000 a game again in the 2007-08 season for the team to actually leave by October 2008.
And here’s the kicker – the clause is based on paid attendance and according to what Leipold told The Tennessean, the Predators actual paid attendance is actually just over 13,000 per game (the team gives away 1,500 tickets per game).