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Letter from Leipold to season ticket holders.

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05-24-2007, 12:54 PM
  #1
Olaf
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Letter from Leipold to season ticket holders.

Craig Leipold
Nashville Predators

501 Broadway

Nashville, TN 37203



May 24, 2007



Dear Predators' Season Ticket Holders:



June 25, 2007 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the awarding of the NHL franchise to Nashville that became your Nashville Predators. It's been an incredible 10-year journey for me. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate your strong emotional and financial support of the Nashville Predators. You are a big part of the team's on-ice success. On behalf of the entire franchise, I thank you.



Ten years ago, I couldn't call myself a hockey expert. Today, my family and I are as passionate and competitive about the game as the most hardcore fans.



When the franchise began, I said we would run it as a business in order to be successful. We developed a game plan both on and off the ice. We became an integral part of the community, especially downtown Nashville. We made sure we had some fun. And, we indicated that making a huge profit was not a top priority – but we certainly didn't make plans to lose a significant amount either.



As part of those plans we developed a loyal fan base – every team should be fortunate enough to have a Cell Block 303 and the loudest arena in the league. We built a team that the community could be proud of on and off the ice. We grew our hockey skills exactly as general manager David Poile outlined, using the draft as a foundation and then supplementing at the appropriate times with trades and free agents. We gave back to the community – well over $2 million in grants and in-kind donations through the Nashville Predators Foundation. We created an entertaining in-arena atmosphere for every game night. And, we did it all while keeping our ticket prices near the bottom of the league.



Unfortunately, the success on the ice has not translated to success for me as business owner.



Here are just a few facts as to why:



The Nashville Predators tallied up 216 points in the last two seasons, fifth most in the NHL, yet because of below-average attendance, the team will still have a real cash loss of $27 million during that time. Additionally, that loss is despite receiving the most money in the league from revenue sharing. Over the last five years, the team has lost over $60 million.
We've invested heavily in sales and marketing efforts, spending over $50 million in 10 years, most of that with locally-based businesses.
Our average regular season attendance this past season was 13,589, up from the year before, but still 2,000 below the NHL average. A low turnout, combined with a low ticket price results in a poor financial situation.
The new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement with revenue sharing is not a cure-all. Each local market must still support its local team. In addition, this attendance does not qualify us for our full revenue sharing allocation under the collective bargaining agreement.
While individual fan support has always been strong, we've worked aggressively to increase our local business support since Season Four. We've tried a variety of approaches with minimal success. Our records show today that corporate support for the Nashville Predators makes up about 35% of our season ticket base. The average in other markets is around 60%. During our first two years, approximately 4,000 businesses owned season tickets. Today, only 1,800 businesses have season tickets.


While my heart and my love of the game tell me we can still be successful, the facts outlined above suggest otherwise. I've reached the only possible conclusion and it's one of the most difficult decisions of my personal and professional life.



Later today, I am announcing an agreement to sell the Nashville Predators franchise and Powers Management to Jim Balsillie. We plan for the sale to be final in early July after a short period of due diligence and approval from the NHL Board of Governors.



I've carried the franchise as far as it can go from a business standpoint. It has been well-reported that we have attempted to attract local ownership since 2002. The truth is, we had only one serious inquiry in that time from someone who was interested in a small minority share of the team. Jim Balsillie is interested in full ownership.



It's time to give someone else a chance to take the Nashville Predators to the next level in terms of local business support. Last week's announcement that the Sommet Group has signed on as a naming rights partner for the arena is a strong first step in the right direction. The new energy and leadership of Jim Balsillie will be another.



Jim Balsillie is co-CEO of Research in Motion, the company which developed the Blackberry device. He is an avid hockey fan who still plays recreationally. I know he is dedicated to putting a great team on the ice.



The past 10 years have laid a foundation, but there's still much to be done to both build corporate support and to win a Stanley Cup. I know Jim shares my passion for the game and my commitment to a strong franchise to pursue the greatest trophy in sports.



Despite the financial challenges we faced, owning this franchise has been the thrill of a lifetime. I've made many friendships here in Nashville. It's been an exciting 10 years, and as I move on from the ranks of team ownership, I'll always remain a fan.





Craig L. Leipold

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05-24-2007, 01:11 PM
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David_99
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And nothing in that letter states anything about agreeing to sell only if Balsillie agreed to keep the team in Nashville. Not looking good.

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05-24-2007, 01:15 PM
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What a slapt in the face. They can't even bother to send to to ALL season ticket holders.

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05-24-2007, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_99 View Post
And nothing in that letter states anything about agreeing to sell only if Balsillie agreed to keep the team in Nashville. Not looking good.
Not only that, but he basically said that the NHL Board of Governors are behind the sale and will approve it with little resistance.

Furthermore, he just painted the market in the poorest of lights but goes on to vaguely say that the new owner might have more success than he did in Nashville.

Looks to me as if Balsillie told Leipold straight up that he isn't planning on sticking around in Nashville very long and Leipold accepted the offer nonetheless because it was such a high bid for a franchise with the economics that Leipold laid out in his letter.

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05-24-2007, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SLake View Post
Not only that, but he basically said that the NHL Board of Governors are behind the sale and will approve it with little resistance.

Furthermore, he just painted the market in the poorest of lights but goes on to vaguely say that the new owner might have more success than he did in Nashville.

Looks to me as if Balsillie told Leipold straight up that he isn't planning on sticking around in Nashville very long and Leipold accepted the offer nonetheless because it was such a high bid for a franchise with the economics that Leipold laid out in his letter.
I agree. I had hoped that today would bring some good news, but to me, this reads like a nail in the coffin. Bettman and even Daly have made not-so-latent comments in the past year that Nashville's situation was "concerning," and to them, this probably looks like the ultimate solution. They may not like where this guy wants to put the team, but moving them is just okey-dokey to them.

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05-24-2007, 02:58 PM
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horrible news for you faithful Preds fans. it is really unfortunate for you guys. all us Pens fans know what you are going through. this sucks!

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05-24-2007, 04:04 PM
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Blue Jackets fan (don't let the playoff avatar fool you), just wanted to stop in and wish you guys the best of luck on this thing. I don't care for relocation regardless how long a team has existed. The fact that it seems to be corporate ticket sales at the issue is also frustrating because its clear there are true fans in Nashville.

Having a third team in a remote city in Southern Ontario would be a disaster despite what most Canadians seem to think. Consider that the NY metro area has three teams and two of those teams have had attendance issues on a regular basis. Southern Ontario has a similar population but most of that population is in Toronto and Ottawa with the rest dispersed in a large geographical area. Just doesn't make business sense when you consider how many years it took for the Senators to get their financial house in order.

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05-24-2007, 04:12 PM
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Do I hear Kansas City????? Remember this guy was involved in the possible sale of the pens and then the move to KC. Who's to say KC won't get their team now?

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05-24-2007, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axecrew View Post
Do I hear Kansas City????? Remember this guy was involved in the possible sale of the pens and then the move to KC. Who's to say KC won't get their team now?
No, he was not with the KC group. He wanted to move the pens to Ontario.

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05-24-2007, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axecrew View Post
Do I hear Kansas City????? Remember this guy was involved in the possible sale of the pens and then the move to KC. Who's to say KC won't get their team now?
He had nothing to do with the KC relocation of the Preds. That was someone else. There's zero chance this guy is thinking of that. This will be Mark Cuban-esque hobby team, and he wants it in his backyard.

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05-24-2007, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
Blue Jackets fan (don't let the playoff avatar fool you), just wanted to stop in and wish you guys the best of luck on this thing. I don't care for relocation regardless how long a team has existed. The fact that it seems to be corporate ticket sales at the issue is also frustrating because its clear there are true fans in Nashville.

Having a third team in a remote city in Southern Ontario would be a disaster despite what most Canadians seem to think. Consider that the NY metro area has three teams and two of those teams have had attendance issues on a regular basis. Southern Ontario has a similar population but most of that population is in Toronto and Ottawa with the rest dispersed in a large geographical area. Just doesn't make business sense when you consider how many years it took for the Senators to get their financial house in order.
3 teams in Souther Ontario would still easily beat 3 teams in the NY Metro area attendace-wise, Kitchener draws 5,000 fans per game at there OHL games not to mention Hamilton, Guelph, London, and GO-TRAINS from Toronto could all be on route to the arena, it could easily work.

It's a shame it has to happen to Nashville though, I'd prefer to see it done with an Expansion team, I've watched the Expos and the Grizzlies been snatched away from there fans it will be unfortunate to have the same situation here.

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05-24-2007, 05:01 PM
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I feel sorry for the good hockey fans in Nashville, as we here in Canada know how it feels to lose some of our teams.
Thanks ... this ****in' sucks

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05-24-2007, 05:25 PM
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I do believe that Balsillie wants to move the team, but it was never confirmed that he was trying to move the Penguins. It was speculated that he wanted an out clause, but nothing I've ever read actually confirmed it.

There still exists a glimmer of hope.

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05-24-2007, 05:26 PM
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Later tonight I will post a picture of my Minnesota tribute shirt for Norm Green. Y'all are free to use the design when the day comes.

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05-24-2007, 05:50 PM
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Man, I really hope he doesn't move this team. I love it that there's a successful franchise in the south and was really hoping to watch this team raise the Cup. Sorry guys...here's hoping!

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05-24-2007, 07:11 PM
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Here ya go.


Just change Minnesota to Nashville and Norm Greed to Jim Basillie

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05-24-2007, 07:51 PM
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I feel very sorry for hardcore hockey fans down there in Nashville. I know what it's like to have your favourite profesionnal team relocated (with the Expos). I am sorry but I also think this is good for the NHL as a whole in a side too... I hope NHL realize some day that it's not a great idea to send franchise where hockey is not even a top 5 sports priority...

if they move the Preds to KC it will be a shame. I mean comon, Kansas City ? What about Winnipeg or Quebec ? Huhhh

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05-24-2007, 08:18 PM
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Ouch. That letter didn't sound like good news. I'd love to have more Canadian teams, but at the expense of teams like Nashville, IMO isn't fair. If Hamilton needed a team that bad, then Balsille should've convinced Bettman to consider expansion.

My condolences Preds fans.

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05-25-2007, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by axecrew View Post
Do I hear Kansas City????? Remember this guy was involved in the possible sale of the pens and then the move to KC. Who's to say KC won't get their team now?
you are thinking of William "Boots" Del Biaggio III. ballsilly wanted to rip our pens out of the burgh and take them to the great grey north.

***** basille. heres to the preds staying in nashville where they belong.

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05-25-2007, 04:30 PM
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Good luck Preds fans.

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05-25-2007, 04:35 PM
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3 teams in Souther Ontario would still easily beat 3 teams in the NY Metro area attendace-wise, Kitchener draws 5,000 fans per game at there OHL games not to mention Hamilton, Guelph, London, and GO-TRAINS from Toronto could all be on route to the arena, it could easily work.

It's a shame it has to happen to Nashville though, I'd prefer to see it done with an Expansion team, I've watched the Expos and the Grizzlies been snatched away from there fans it will be unfortunate to have the same situation here.
Moving the team from Nashville to Hamilton, Ontario is pathetic! Hamilton is 70 miles from Buffalo and 40 miles from Toronto.

I hope the NHL board knocks this down. Keep the team in Nashville - they owe it to the fans.

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05-26-2007, 04:49 PM
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you are thinking of William "Boots" Del Biaggio III. ballsilly wanted to rip our pens out of the burgh and take them to the great grey north.

***** basille. heres to the preds staying in nashville where they belong.
My point was simply that the new owner was involved in the possible sale of the pens,and since he was involved in that it would be safe to say he was privy to info about the KC exploration.And you know the people in KC still want a team,so it stands to reason that they will make a play for the preds,just like they did for the pens. Since the new owner has a ton of info at his disposel from the pens situation,I would think KC would have a better then average chance to get the team should they move.Winnipeg would be 2nd in line,BUT with the state of economics in Canada surounding their teams,I'd say it would be a long shot. Before anyone ask..Here's what I mean, Toronto and Montreal are the stablest of the group,Ottawa is coming out of bankruptsy,Edmonton and Calgary still have very limited payroll and money available. Vancouver..who knows? I can't see them moving a team to Winnipeg,since they couldn't support a team there before.

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05-26-2007, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by axecrew View Post
My point was simply that the new owner was involved in the possible sale of the pens,and since he was involved in that it would be safe to say he was privy to info about the KC exploration.And you know the people in KC still want a team,so it stands to reason that they will make a play for the preds,just like they did for the pens. Since the new owner has a ton of info at his disposel from the pens situation,I would think KC would have a better then average chance to get the team should they move.Winnipeg would be 2nd in line,BUT with the state of economics in Canada surounding their teams,I'd say it would be a long shot. Before anyone ask..Here's what I mean, Toronto and Montreal are the stablest of the group,Ottawa is coming out of bankruptsy,Edmonton and Calgary still have very limited payroll and money available. Vancouver..who knows? I can't see them moving a team to Winnipeg,since they couldn't support a team there before.
You might want to do some fact checking on this because it's not true.

http://www.thestar.com/article/180345

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05-26-2007, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Doc Scurlock View Post
You might want to do some fact checking on this because it's not true.

http://www.thestar.com/article/180345
All that article says is that Canadian teams generate 33 percent of the revenue.

How much of that do you want to bet is teams that aren't Toronto and Montreal? That's like saying, "The Yankees and the Devil Rays generate 85 percent of the revenue in baseball."

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05-27-2007, 12:10 AM
  #25
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All that article says is that Canadian teams generate 33 percent of the revenue.

How much of that do you want to bet is teams that aren't Toronto and Montreal? That's like saying, "The Yankees and the Devil Rays generate 85 percent of the revenue in baseball."
The point is the Canadian teams, even if you exclude Toronto and Montreal, aren't in the sad state that axecrew was insinuating they are. This isn't 1996 here where a team like the Oilers was struggling financially. None of the Canadian teams were part of the 11 teams that received revenue sharing last season. The reality of the situation is that due to the current CBA cities like Edmonton, Ottawa, and Calgary can compete with the big boys.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t...evenue+sharing

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