Updated at 7 PM with comments from Metro Finance Director
Questions about specifics of some contractual language delayed approval of the new concessions deal at Bridgestone Arena.
The Metropolitan Sports Authority adjourned before voting on the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena's renegotiated concessions deal with SportService. 
"It's not that I'm not comfortable with the deal. … I don't want to be sending the wrong signal. I just want to ask some questions in an executive session," Authority member Margaret Behm said.
Because litigation is not pending or likely, the Authority's attorney said an executive session to vet the contractual language was not permissible under the state's sunshine law. Thus, the discussion shifted to vetting some of the specifics, but with several authority members facing a time-crunch, ultimately the decision was made to adjourn the meeting and schedule another session to vote on the deal.
Authority members indicated they wanted to hear from Larry Thrailkill, the local attorney and former San Francisco 49ers executive who is regarded as the architect of the current lease between team and city, as well as Metro Finance's Bob Lackey. Both Thrailkill and Lackey had scheduling conflicts prohibiting them from attending Thursday's meeting.
The authority did receive a letter from Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling signing off on an amendment to the licensing agreement, as required by law. Predators COO Sean Henry said he had spoken to Riebeling Wednesday night and that the city's finance chief was comfortable with the terms of the renegotiated agreement.
Riebeling confirmed his support.
"Yes, I support the concession arrangement. My staff and Metro Legal have reviewed and believe it is in our best interest. The opportunity to have capital put into the building along with the potential for additional revenue immediately are important," he wrote in an e-mail to NashvillePost.com.
Because the deal is a re-negotiation of an existing agreement with SportService - rather than a wholly new deal - it need not be put out to open bid, a source of some consternation.
"The most significant change is a change of name. If this had been called an agreement as it was before, I think competitive bids would have need to be solicited. … By calling it "extension," the terms of previous agreement which was prior to management and use agreement," Authority member Steve North said. "My real question and concern and the only real interest I have is are taxpayers getting the best deal on the concessions. If there's a better deal, we ought to at least explore it."
Predators COO Sean Henry said if the existing deal - which runs through 2013 - were to expire, with the concessions deal put out to bid, he has "no doubt" he would receive multiple bids for the business, but he doubts the terms would improve much from what SportService offered.
"I've put concessions out to deal multiple times [in other places], this is a tremendous deal," he said.
After the meeting, Henry explained his confidence that this is the best deal for the arena and the taxpayer.
"It is the best deal that we can cut today. It improves the deal that we have. And based on the industry it is one of the higher rent deals out there, and is accompanied by an investment. If we went out to bid could it be better? Possibly, but it can get worse. We are striking now because they are juiced on our success on both business fronts and think the future is bright. This deal works for them with our growth, they are being aggressive because where they perceive we are going," he said. "What if there is a hiccup with the team? Concert business? . . . perhaps the deal goes down."
Authority member Rusty Thompson — referring to Aramark's alleged interest in taking over the vending contract — asked whether it was possible for one concessions provider to buy-out the rest of the existing deal from another. Henry said that's occured in other places — notably in Dallas, where team CEO Jeff Cogen once worked — but that it does open the team up to potential litigation for tortious interference.
In any event, Authority chair J.D. Elliot said he would call a meeting of the Authority soon to vote on the contract at a time when Thrailkill and Lackey could attend.
Arena football possibility detailed
Henry also updated the Sports Authority on arena football's chances of returning to Nashville by 2013, as first reported by NashvillePost.com last week .
He said a team could draw up to 100,000 people to the arena over the course of a season and that while the team wouldn't be owned by the Predators, it would be operated under the Predators/Powers umbrella, similar to how concerts are handled.