Citing its personal seat license contracts, the Tennessee Titans will not be paying interest on season-ticket payments — even if there aren't any NFL games this fall.
With the NFL lockout underway, Titans Executive Vice President Steve Underwood had to face some pointed questions from Nashville Sports Authority member Steve North Thursday, but Underwood dismissed many of his concerns as "premature."
"I would think that by now, most of our PSL holders would believe that as an organization we are going to do what is fair or right or responsible. I don't think that would include wholesale canceling of PSLs [for non-payment]," Underwood said. "I had a discussion with another senior team official and suggested that one thing we need to add to our consideration list is a sort of system where we get some sort of set minimum from our PSL holders — maybe 40 or 50 percent — as a good-faith indication that they intend to keep their PSL."
"I think PSL holders would like a good-faith indication there is going to be football," North, a PSL holder himself, said.
Underwood noted that the PSL contract prohibits the payment of any interest and simply guarantees a refund for unplayed games within 30 days of the end of the season. Like most teams, the Titans sent out season-ticket renewal invoices recently. It's been suggested the teams might consider — as a public-relations move — putting those payments in an interest-bearing account. Earlier this week, the New York Giants announced that until the labor dispute is resolved they will not be accepting any payment for season tickets, this despite the fact the Giants recently opened the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium, the cost of which they are splitting with co-tenants the New York Jets.
"Every team is taking a different approach," Underwood said. "We are not even sure what our approach is going to be. If the Giants can live with it, that's great for them and great for their fans. We've already invoiced and 80 percent of our accounts have already made payment. We are going to arrive at some process that [season ticket holders] are inconvenienced as minimally as we are comfortable doing."
Underwood also refused to comment on whether a lengthy lockout would result in any layoffs within the organization.
Predators say arena revenue is up
Nashville Predators COO Sean Henry announced Bridgestone Arena is on pace to have its best-performing fiscal year in history.
"Revenues are up 30 percent, bottom line up 15 percent," he said. "We've already exceeded year-to-date budget in several revenue items through end of January. We've exceded the seat-user fee, box office and food and beverage revenues. ... It'll be the busiest fiscal year the building has ever had. We ended the calendar year as the sixth-busiest building in America. Previously our best year had been as the 20th-busiest."
Henry said the organization will, for the first time, pay down the deficit in the current budget year and will do the same in the upcoming '11-'12 budget, as well.
On the expense side, the NHL has placed a mandate on its teams to modernize the dasher boards, which ring the rinks, in the interest of safety.
"Dashers are normally replaced or renovated every eight or 10 years. We have the original system [from 1998]. The current boards are expensive to take in and out for shows. The boards break every game. It's getting to the point where they are almost irreparable. The new board system the league is mandating costs between $350,000 and $375,000, but I think we can do it for $323,000 or $325,000. What's nice about the new boards is its easier to move in and out. And it should cut down on concussions around the league," he said.