Forbes has a little good news for the Predators

The annual Forbes valuations of NHL franchises are out. The magazine values the Nashville Predators at $205 million, 24th in the league. That's one spot higher and $38 million more than last year, a 23 percent increase.

The magazine's analysis found the the Preds lost $800,000 last year, the 19th "highest" EBITDA in the league and the lowest loss among the teams which lost money last year. It's also the team's lowest loss since posting a profit of $6.2 million in 2005. The league-wide average was a $7 million profit.

The Predators posted $71 million in revenue in a year mired by a lockout and a last place finish in the Central Division. It was the lowest revenue number since 2009, when the team also put up $71 million.

The team can also boast an annualized increase in value of 3 percent, based on the $174 million the current ownership group paid in 2007.

Nov 25, 2013 10:10 AM

How should city rescue a bad Sulphur Dell deal? Buy the Sounds

Our J.R. Lind weighs in on a bad deal at Sulphur Dell and the only way to rescue it — just buy the team. It's been done elsewhere and the manageable tab would bring with it some big benefits.

The value of the Sounds is hard to pin down (though, presumably, it's gone up with the promise of a new stadium). But Forbes' recent estimate of the 20 most valuable minor league teams did not include the Sounds. The 20th ranked team on that list — the Oklahoma City RedHawks — came in at $21 million.

For, say, $20 million, the city gets the team ... and it gets the revenue. Not just the increased sales taxes budgeted in the financing plan — all of it. Ticket revenue, beer money, parking costs. All of it.

Nov 14, 2013 9:45 AM

Sounds stadium financing plan unveiled

Mayor's plan calls for Metro to pay $65M
Nov 11, 2013 11:55 AM

Indoor football set to return to Nashville

It looks like indoor football — what you might know as arena football — is returning to Nashville.

The Nashville Venom have shown up as a team set to play in the 2014 season of the Professional Indoor Football League according to the league's Web site. The league is largely a successor to the Southern Indoor Football League, several rungs below the top-level Arena Football League.

Sources tell PostSports the team will hold a formal announcement Tuesday and will begin play in March at Municipal Auditorium.

Nashville had two iterations of the Nashville Kats, part of the Arena Football League, between 1997 and 2001 and 2005 and 2007. The first version, owned by Mark Bloom, was sold and moved to Atlanta when the team couldn't negotiate a favorable lease with the Nashville Predators and the second, owned  in part by the late Bud Adams, folded when the NFL failed to exercise its option to buy the AFL. Nashville Predators COO Sean Henry mentioned the possibility of the return of the Arena Football League two years ago, though that possibility seems to have faded.

UPDATED: Apparently, there was a press release about this issued Nov. 6:

The Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) welcomes the addition of the Nashville Venom making them the eighth and final member for the upcoming 2014 season.

Already with a rich history of being one of the South's premier sports towns, the Venom will serve as the first indoor football team in Nashville since 2007.

With season tickets going on average for as low as $60 around the PIFL, the Venom will continue the league's dedication of providing fan-friendly and affordable entertainment with the Nashville Municipal Auditorium serving as the host venue for all Venom games beginning with their home-opener on April 5th.

"We are excited about the opportunity to host the Professional Indoor Football League's Nashville Venom in 2014," says Nashville Municipal Auditorium General Manager Bob Skoney.

"PIFL is a great addition to the Auditorium's event roster and further expands the sports options available for Nashville and Middle Tennessee sports enthusiasts," continues Skoney. "In preparation for all of our 2014 events, we are refurbishing the mezzanine seating." Following along with the PIFL's regional footprint, the Venom are set to become regular rivals with the Alabama Hammers (Huntsville, AL) as well as with the Columbus Lions (GA) and Albany Panthers (GA).

Nov 9, 2013 10:40 PM

Bud Adams' heirs lay out leadership plan for Titans in wake of founder's death

Tommy Smith, one of Bud Adams’ sons-in-law, will be the Tennessee Titans President and CEO following last week’s death of the franchise founder.

Adams’ two daughters and a grandson, Kenneth Adams IV, also will have leadership roles, according to a statement the family released Tuesday afternoon.

The complete statement is as follows:

“We want to thank all of the friends, family and fans who have reached out to us over the past week to give their condolences and share their stories. It has been a difficult week for all of us and those conversations and letters have kept us going.

“As for the Titans organization, we are moving forward with the same goals and a similar structure. As a family, we have agreed that I will be President and CEO of the Titans; and additionally Susie Adams Smith and Amy Adams Hunt will serve as Co-Chairpersons and Kenneth Adams IV will join the Titans board as a Director.

“As an organization, we started the year with a plan and we will continue to work towards the goals we have laid out, including a winning season, the playoffs and ultimately building a consistent winner. Through the years, our families and I have been consistently updated on all aspects of the organization from football operations to the business side from those who run those areas and we will continue those interactions on a daily basis. We will be taking all the necessary steps, in concert with the league office, to remain in compliance with league rules in our ownership structure. That process will not be immediate, but it has begun. Until we gain that approval, we will stay out of the spotlight, but know that we are directing the organization and staying informed of daily activities. The continuity and knowledge I have gained in decades of being involved with the team will aid our organization during this transition.

“We want our fans to know that we have the best interest of the franchise in mind and we share both Bud’s passion for the game and his commitment to the city of Nashville and the Mid-South Region.  We are excited for what lies ahead for this franchise and our fans.”

Oct 30, 2013 5:00 AM

NFL's top agent relocates to Nashville

Put this one in the It City file:

This week's issue of Sports Business Journal reports that CAA Sports' Tom Condon — widely regarded as the top NFL agent — has relocated from St. Louis to Creative Artists Agency's Nashville office.

Condon tells SBJ's Liz Mullen that the move was made to increase CAA's coverage — this is the heart of SEC country after all — and to take advantage of the large CAA office, which has 80 staffers in its newish digs in SunTrust Plaza.

Locally, CAA Sports — formed by a merger in 2006 — represents Titans Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derrick Morgan and Justin Hunter.

Oct 29, 2013 1:10 PM

City reveals details about Sulphur Dell stadium

Project would aim to minimize neighborhood impact; a happy Council member on a chair
Oct 25, 2013 5:00 AM

Bredesen: The deal with Adams was tough, but fair, and good for Nashville

Almost two decades later, it's the deal that put Nashville on the cultural map: Bud Adams moved his NFL franchise to Nashville.

For all of the plaudits that Nashville has received over the last few years, becoming an NFL city put it in an elite club, showcased it on national television and made people unfamiliar with the city take notice. And it didn't hurt that the year they moved into their new, taxpayer-financed stadium, they came up a foot short in Super Bowl.

So how did Adams bring the then-oilers to Music City? It was a tough deal.

First, Phil Bredesen told the Nashville Post, the city had to be sure that Adams wasn't using Nashville as leverage. Though the two had bonded over a mutual love of art at an initial lunch and seemed to respect each other, Bredesen said that the sides needed to be sure they could trust each other. Bredesen was looking for a sports team — the under-construction downtown arena was built to NHL and NBA specs — and the NFL hadn't been considered an option. Adams was looking for a new stadium and had been flatly turned down by the mayor of Houston.

Enter the exclusive agreement. Adams secretly agreed to negotiate only with Nashville — and more importantly, to not take any deal back to Houston — and in response, the city came up with a $292 million package, including $80 million in bonds backed by taxpayers.

"I think Bud really appreciated Phil's straightforward, business-like approach to difficult issues," said lawyer Byron Trauger, the city's leading negotiator. "And I think that was something he had not previously seen in many political leaders.

"I found him to be a tough but fair negotiator. He was not present for most of the negotiations, of course, because in a deal like that the lead people would not be. But I remember two or three times as we were working on the deal, the lawyers and negotiators reached an impasse, and on those occasions then-Mayor Phil Bredesen and Bud would go into a room alone and work out the issue."

Bredesen said Adams was good for Nashville and agreed the Texan was a tough, but fair, negotiator. The only trepidation Adams had was when the bond referendum came up, Bredesen said, and the fervor with which opponents approached the vote was "second only to the county's liquor-by-the-drink referendum, I am told."

"He was very upset about it," the former mayor and governor said. "When we had talked originally, i think because of the political problems he had in Houston, he said, 'Look, if this requires a vote, I don't want any part of it.' And I assured him it did not, because it didn't. No one ever thought that part of the charter would be pulled out. By the time that happened, we were already a long way down the road. He said, 'Look, I trust you guys. I'm sorry it's come to this, but let's get it done and let's get the team here.' He stuck with us and we got the vote done — the 'yes' referendum — and I think it was very good for the team and the city."

One side-effect of the referendum? It was now a settled matter. "A lot of those folks who voted no have become Titans fans and some are even season ticket holders," he said.

With the deal done — and bridges burned in Houston, which never got a chance to counter — Adams' Oilers endured a lost 1996 season in Texas with dwindling attendance. The next year the team moved to Memphis, temporarily and then to Vanderbilt for a season in 1998. By 1999, the gleaming new stadium, now LP Field, was finished and witnessed a 13-3 regular season, the "Music City Miracle" in the playoffs and a run to the Super Bowl.

Oct 22, 2013 5:00 AM

Bud Adams has died

The Houston Chronicle and other outlets are reporting that Titans owner, K.S. "Bud" Adams has died at the age of 90.

Mr. Adams moved the Houston Oilers — the franchise he started as part of the upstart American Football League in 1960 — to Tennessee in 1997, playing in Memphis and at Vanderbilt before opening what is now LP Field as the Tennessee Titans in 1999.

In that season, the Titans would advance to the Super Bowl — doing something the team never did in Houston.

Mr. Adams had developed a contentious relationship with the city he called home (and continued to call home even after he relocated his beloved team) — having almost moved the team earlier to Jacksonville. Mr. Adams was involved with the group that brought Major League Baseball to Houston in 1962 when the Colt .45s (now the Astros) began play.

In addition, Mr. Adams also owned Houston's ABA franchise and one of the iterations of the Nashville Kats arena football team.

Mr. Adams, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and graduate of the University of Kansas, originally made his fortune in oil and gas.

Coincidentally, Mr. Adams died just days after Bum Phillips, the coach of the Oilers during the heady Luv Ya Blue period. Mr Adams fired Mr. Phillips in 1980, seen by many as the beginning of acrimonious relationship between owner, city and fans.


Oct 21, 2013 11:45 AM

Introducing the Sounds' new manager

The Nashville Sounds' manager for 2014 is one of just 14 players who have had three-dinger games in both the American and National leagues. Check out all the details here.

Oct 10, 2013 1:28 PM