The Nashville Predators and the Sommet Group of Tennessee, LLC announced Monday an agreement has been reached under which the downtown arena will continue to be known as the Sommet Center but the hockey club will be free to pursue a new naming rights partner.
"We are pleased to resolve this dispute in the best interests of both parties, and resume our working partnership." Ed Lang, Predators President of Business Operations, and Brian Whitfield, managing partner of Sommet Group, announced in a joint statement.
Whitfield said the Sommet Group has accomplished its business objectives with the three-year agreement under which the arena was known as the Sommet Center.
"This has been a very good investment for our company and its products and services and, while the naming rights deal has served its purpose for us, we do intend to maintain some type of partnership going forward," Whitfield said. "We wish only the best for the Nashville Predators and the arena operation. It is a great facility and a valuable asset to Nashville."
The Nashville Hockey Club filed suit in Chancery Court in November, claiming non-payment from the Brentwood-based company. Sommet fired back, claiming "surprise" at the move because of a $3.3 million IRS lien against Predators principal owner David Freeman. Freeman said the lien is a result of cash-flow problems related to his bailout of the team in the wake of the bankruptcy of former invester William "Boots" Del Biaggio III.
The announcement comes on the day the Gang of Three appointed by the Metropolitan Sports Authority - Metro Legal Director Sue Cain, attorney Larry Thrailkill and authority member Lauren Brisky - met behind closed doors with the team's ownership group to discuss finances and the future of the NHL team. The finance committee of the Sports Authority will meet in special session 9:30 AM Thursday.