The trustee in Del Biaggio's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case has requested a hearing Aug. 6 approving the sale of Del Biaggio's 27 percent share in the hockey franchise to the team's cadre of owners for $15.2 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, the ownership group will pay the trustee $5.2 million upfront with payments of $5 million for each of the next two years. In addition, $200 million in claims against Del Biaggio's estate by the National Hockey League, New York-based CIT Lending Services and the Nashville Sports Authority will be withdrawn.
I love this guy! W. Brett Wilson says on his website that he is awaiting final approval, but is close to the goal line...
Go to www.wbrettwilson.ca, then click on "My Links", Nashville Predators, and then "Description"...you'll find four paragraphs describing his interest and the process he has gone through to get this close to buying into the ownership group...
- Team is bigger, faster, more talented this coming year.
- Boots could call for $30 million, this clause scared off bankers.
- Team couldn't issue new shares to new owners without also giving more shares to Boots, making it hard to expand ownership group.
- Team increased spending by 50% since took over, in the midst of a recession, sign of commitment of owners to team.
- Plan to clear out some kind of trophy case in the arena to make room for Stanley Cup, complete with lights.
- "You can't manage your way from a cost standpoint to success." = You have to spend to win in addition to internal development.
- Talk of this being huge news, black cloud that hung over them has finally gone away.
- 9,600 season ticket-base first year (false positive, many bought on civic pride, "us versus Canada"), now down in the 7,000's.
- Cigarran saying it dropped in part due to worst recession in since Great Depression, but total attendance remained the same, and was within 50 tickets, made up for in single-game tickets.
- Regarding profit this year, "We did about the same as the year before".
- HAD A SMALL LOSS THIS YEAR. Same ticket sales, but at lower price.
- Much to do when came in, but someone somewhere in the ownership group had done it before, several times. Confident in their ability to take on issues one at at time and take them down.
- Admits there was an "initial shock" when they took over and saw how much work there was to do. "Sobering moment."
- David Freeman is the one who deserves credit for putting together deal in desperate times. It was an ugly deal, but it needed to be done in order to keep the team local.
- "Is Nashville out of the woods?" = Next step bank financing, then break-even, then pay down debt, then pay players. Then sustainability is the final goal, 3-4 year timeframe.
- Ownership group is collection of fans.
- Cigarran style
1.) Start with vision, "Why do we come to work everyday? To make Bridgestone Arena number one sports venue in US, with the Nashville Predators as Stanley Cup winners as the centerpiece." Compares situation to Ed Temple and TSU, with no resources, and built something special (I'm not from Nashville so I take it this is a local inspirational story?). Set a big goal, and don't quit till you get there. Finishing third is not acceptable.
2.) Do the unglamorous things. Strong financial structure, in the process of doing that, one at a time, methodical, this transforms teams. Allows UFA signings, keeping players developed, etc.
-Cigarran "I was never the smartest person in any of the businesses I worked in", goal is to hire the best people, surround yourself with the smartest people and then let them do their jobs. Create the environment where they're not worried about politics or popularity, but just focused on their jobs and the vision.
- The Boots transaction doesn't affect coming year, budget is set that will provide for best team in history, but the effect is long-term. Described the Boots issue as a ball and chain around the team.
- Is looking for additional owners, local primarily. This is not a financial investment, this is about winning. Cigarran to wife: "In our lifetime I don't expect this team to pay off enough cash to buy you a dress." It'll pay investment back in future generations. More fun than he ever thought to be an owner.
- Haha, gave out his assistant's name when it came to addressing a fan complaint. Offered to personally follow-up on the issue.
- Regarding pursuing big-name free agent, they have the money to do it, but they may not do it given the priority on team chemistry.
- Legwand played his best hockey of the season in the playoffs, that's what they expect of him every game. It's a confidence thing.
- Regarding Shea Weber, first of all, this is Poile's decision, and Poile has informed the ownership that Weber will be re-signed. Weber leads by example, is not a talker. We have had talks with Weber, "we know the zip code of the area of what he wants and we're prepared to give it to him". We can give him what he wants, and he will be the captain for many years to come, we've budgeted the money that Weber wants. Jokingly he says, "So if this doesn't work, it's all Poile's fault".
- The Predators plan three years ahead.
- Regarding Trotz, can categorically say not looking for a new coach, can develop players very well, has the respect of the team, they like playing for him, took a team that last year would be lucky to win 30 games and was within 12 seconds of beating the Stanley Cup Champions. Hopefully he will be the coach for many more years to come.
- Host comments that Trotz is a master psychiatrist.
- Goal is to do something for the fans each year that is significantly better than year before. Ownership is not happy with the merchandise.
- He sits in Section 105 for those of you down there. He got mad at ushers for asking fans to put food down and show stubs before they go to their seats, apparently it's a league policy, but Cigarran wants them to either get to know the fans and where they sit or else hold the food for them while they get their stubs out, but they shouldn't be asked to put their food on the ground. Nice anecdote.