Fox Sports Tennessee and SportSouth have agreed to a long-term contract with the Nashville Predators that will televise a minimum of 75 Nashville Predators regular-season games beginning with the 2013-14 season. Financial terms aren't being released for the deal, which covers more than 4 million households in Tennessee, Kentucky and northern parts of Alabama and Mississippi.
“To have a partner that recognizes the strength of the Predators brand and the importance of broadcasting in Nashville and across the southeast is tremendous,” Nashville Predators Executive Vice President Chris Parker said. “FOX Sports Tennessee and SportSouth are premier networks and this extension further solidifies the future of the Predators franchise. Following in the footsteps of other recently-signed early extensions with existing partners, like Bridgestone Americas, this deal is a great indicator of our commitment to providing our fans – who tuned in at an all-time high last season – with a first-class experience when it comes to their team.”
Ratings for Nashville Predators telecasts on FOX Sports Tennessee and SportSouth increased 40 percent from the 2010-11 season to the 2011-12 season. The team’s 5.2 rating on SportSouth for Game Five of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Detroit was the highest TV rating for a playoff game in franchise history, reaching 53,000 households. Keeping consistent with last year’s success, the Predators are averaging a 1.7 rating through the first several games of the season.
The release also promised expanded programming options and a new "semi-permanent" broadcast location at Bridgestone Arena.
So the National Hockey League's owners and players have come to terms on a new 10-year labor agreement. Many details still need to be worked out, but Dirk Hoag writes that it looks like the Predators' relationship with revenue sharing could change. Meanwhile, ESPN's Scott Burnside laments that it took so long to find an agreement on what was supposed to be a "tweak and a fix" and worries about some of the corporate support that has left for other sports properties.
Never mind the rest of this season in terms of generating new ad money or sponsorships, most businesses have already moved into commitments for later in their fiscal years, which would coincide with the start of the 2013-14 NHL season.
McDonald's (in the United States) was supposed to be a key NHL sponsor with an ad campaign tied to the Winter Classic, All-Star Game and other high-profile events, but it moved on and signed a two-year deal with the NFL after the lockout started.
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The Nashville Predators have renewed their affiliation with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. The two franchises began their partnership five years ago. The Cyclones also are aligned with the Florida Panthers organization.
The NHL's lockout is now well into its first week and at least two franchises — Florida and Ottawa — have announced staff cuts to offset the loss in revenue if actual games are canceled.
Multiple sources told NashvillePost.com that employees at Bridgestone Arena — including those employed by the team, as well as its arena management arm, Powers — were told in a staff meeting that the work stoppage would not result in layoffs here.
That information was confirmed by Predators President and COO Sean Henry.
During the lost season of 2004-05, the Predators had massive layoffs. Only two NHL teams weathered that work stoppage without layoffs: the Tampa Bay Lightning — where Henry was COO — and the Dallas Stars — where CEO Jeff Cogen was president.