Thanks to unmanaged for pointing out that tickets are already on sale for the new Hamilton NHL team. Here is more:
Two days into the campaign, the number of people putting deposits on season tickets for a potential National Hockey League team in Hamilton overtook the number of season-ticket holders of the Nashville Predators.
By early Friday afternoon, Jim Balsillie, who is trying to buy the Predators, sold almost 10,000 seats and luxury suites for Copps Coliseum, where the team will play if it is moved from Nashville. The Predators currently have just under 9,000 season-ticket holders.
Apparently if this effort isn't successful Leipold promises to scuttle the team.
If the Nashville Predators are not sold by June 30, which seems unlikely now, sources say club owner Craig Leipold is prepared to vastly trim his player payroll next season, even if it means dismantling a Stanley Cup contender.
The so-called scorched earth tactic, reminiscent of baseball's Florida Marlins, is designed to minimize financial losses next season, which will almost certainly approach US$10-million, and force the City of Nashville to buy more tickets if it wants to keep professional hockey in the Tennessee capital. It would also demonstrate to National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman, who doesn't want the team relocated to Hamilton, that Nashville is an unsustainable market, which Leipold has repeatedly said.
Basically Leipold has put a gun to the head of the Predators and told the NHL he'll pull the trigger if they won't let him have his money. It appears clear that Nashville is fucked unless local businesses actually buy the team out from Leipold. The ticket sales effort won't help. More...
It's not like Bettman can save hockey in Nashville. It would appear to be history, the vultures from other cities circling in numbers. There's said to be another lesser offer into Predators owner Craig Leipold to move the team to Kansas City, but he obviously would prefer to be able to sell to Balsillie for the much higher number -- more than $50 million higher.
Bettman would prefer to see the team stay in the U.S. with an eye to making the league a more saleable commodity to a major U.S. television network, so he would prefer to see the sale go through at these June meetings and then deal with the relocation issue later when the Preds can get out of the lease.