An announcement of a letter of intent for the Nashville Predators could come Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. But the make-up of the actual ownership could get interesting.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist William "Boots" Del Biaggio is in Nashville, according to sources. There was some talk today that Del Biaggio was meeting with the local group of bidders, led by David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital, and Herb Fritch, CEO of HealthSpring. If so, that could indicate the possibility of him joining with the group in buying the team.
Another source, however, urged caution on such talk. After all, Kansas City media continue to report Del Biaggio's interest in moving an NHL team to that city.
Once Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie fell out of favor in the bidding, Del Biaggio and the local group made competing bids on the team owned by Craig Leipold.
One possible scenario is that Del Biaggio joins with the local group, upping his ante in an NHL team but not becoming a majority owner in a team. He has a small stake in the San Jose Sharks, which he would have to sell if he is part of a group buying the Predators. He had made a bid on the Pittsburgh Penguins two years ago with a group of investors. The Penguins pulled out of the deal and last year had a failed attempt with Balsillie.
On a separate note, the local group brought in a firm Monday as a possible replacement to Powers Management in managing the Sommet Center. The publicly acknowledged goal is to improve performance on non-game nights and a source said having a top management team is imperative.
Perhaps at the press announcement many expect today, the local bidders also will announce the result, if any, of meetings with Mayor Bill Purcell and his staff on renegotiating some aspects of the lease on the Sommet Center. Getting movement there seemed to be a key element in whether the local group moved forward on buying the team.