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Is Nashville now a Bettman Success?


Guest hf101
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It wasn't that long ago that the fans of Nashville had to prove to the NHL that their city deserved to keep the Predators. They are showing constant growth. I for one won't be surprised if they are able to

keep both Suter and Weber.

by Paul McCain

Off the ice you could call this the franchise’s most successful season, the highest attendance numbers average per game (16,690) , the highest capacity achievement (97.5% of arena capacity), most sellouts in a season (25), all playoff games sold out… and now, word comes out of some simply astounding increases in television ratings across Middle Tennessee.

TV ratings have been growing in Nashville for the last few seasons, there was a 25% jump in the 2010/11 season over 2009/10… that’s pretty good no matter where you are, however, the 40% increase in this year’s ratings over last season is really amazing. Given that the number of games on television continues to grow, this year 68 games were telecast including all away games for the first time in franchise history, expect this trend to continue.

Kudos to the Predators broadcast team led by the Senior Director, Broadcasting Bob Kohl who has done an amazing job… the production quality continues to go up and it is being rewarded. Credit also needs to be given to the Voice of the Predators Pete Weber and Color Analyst Terry Crisp, both have simply become Nashville institutions and are identified closely as a key connection between the team and their fans. Most new Nashville hockey fans have learned the game through their entertaining banter and deep knowledge.

The expansion of broadcasts to Memphis, Knoxville and Atlanta are more signs of growth as improved ratings were noted in these markets as well… the outreach to former Thrasher fans showed great success as well. As the disappointment fades from the second round loss, you can start looking for positives, this is a big one for the long term success of this team.

.....extending their broadcasts to Atlanta was a good idea.

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@hf101

This is probably more at the article writer than you, but here it goes. I think think they will be hard pressed to keep both. Not undoable, but certainly it is going to be a juggling act.

1) Weber is going to get paid as the best d-man in the league. I am guessing 8.5 - 9M.

2) Nashville has 11 unsigned players (including both Weber and Suter)

3) Suter may give a home town discount, but he is still going to be in the 5.5m neighborhood (and certainly 6m on open market).

4) If (1) and (2) are true, that is 14-14.5m tied up in those two players. Under the current CBA / Cap, Nashville has 32M to spend. That would leave 17.5 - 18M to spend on the remaining 9 players. 4 of those are RFA's due for a raise.

I think Nashville still needs a bonafide 3/4 veteran d-man. Suter and Weber chew up 26minutes as a tandem. I am not that big on Klein and Josi is still very young. Gil is definitely gone. Most likely Bouillon as well. A dennis wideman type would bode well in Nashville.

While certainly Nashville is in need of offensive help, in the playoffs they scored 3 goals in 5 of the 10 games they played (2 v. detroit and 3 v. Phoenix). That should be good enough to win. That is why I think they need help in the 3/4/5 spots on d. They certainly need help on offense, but shoring up the d will be critical. While Suter is not a Weber, who else on that team can step up and play 26 minutes a night along side Weber? The answer is nobody. In that light, if Suter can not be resigned before UFA, I would not be surprised in the least to see Carle takes Suters spot. He would come at 5-5.25m and be on a 1-2 pairing (which playing with a Pronger / Weber caliber type he has proven very successful at).

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Nothing in the article referred to Nashville as a Bettman success. I am assuming this is your question. The quick answer is absolutely not. Bettman did not have to do a Phoenix / Pittsburgh bail out. Bettman did not hire Poile or Trotz. Bettman did not make Nashvilles draft choices. Bettman did not run a competitive franchise on a shoestring budget and extreme lack of corporate sponsors. Bettman had nothing to do with the renig by the owner of the sale of Preds to Basille (to move the team to Hamilton Ont.) as the then owner was committed to sell to an owner that would keep the team in Nashville. Bettman did not go find the business partners (10-led by Nashville business man David Freeman) to purchase the Preds. Bettman did not go and find another financial minority partner with deep pockets willing to infuse cash into the organization (last year).

Any success of Nashville has to be attributed to both prior owner and current owners as well as an enormous trust in the management (from GM, Scouting, Coaching etc.). Anything other than that would be an insult of highest degree.

The only thing Bettman had to do with Nashville is awarding them a team. Nothing more.

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@Vanflyer

Bettman had nothing to do with the renig by the owner of the sale of Preds to Basille (to move the team to Hamilton Ont.) as the then owner was committed to sell to an owner that would keep the team in Nashville. Bettman did not go find the business partners (10-led by Nashville business man David Freeman) to purchase the Preds. Bettman did not go and find another financial minority partner with deep pockets willing to infuse cash into the organization (last year).

Oh yes he did. Basille would have needed to sign a consent agreement with the NHL including a clause that stated that a new owner would have to keep the Preds in Nashville for 7 years as long as the Predators averaged 14,000 tickets sold. Bettman helped make sure that the Predators would not be relocated. I'm sure he was involved in helping find new owners in Nashville also. As is the same with Phoenix.

As for Weber and Suter. I agree with the idea that Suter will make close to 5.5M if he stays. however,

4) If (1) and (2) are true, that is 14-14.5m tied up in those two players. Under the current CBA / Cap, Nashville has 32M to spend. That would leave 17.5 - 18M to spend on the remaining 9 players. 4 of those are RFA's due for a raise.

Your missing the fact that Weber and Suter all ready make 11M combined and basically there is only another 3-4M to add to the Nashville cap to keep both of those players. Nashville ended their season with 12M in cap space. Gil and Kositsyn will definitely be gone. So clearly, they can afford to keep both.

Sell outs in Nashville will only increase their revenue as they become a franchise that is much more able to play closer to the cap sealing rather than the cap floor.

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@hf101

Well, I learned a bit (and stand corrected), but (and perhaps splitting hairs):

" Oh yes he did. Basille would have needed to sign a consent agreement with the NHL including a clause that stated that a new owner would have to keep the Preds in Nashville for 7 years as long as the Predators averaged 14,000 tickets sold. Bettman helped make sure that the Predators would not be relocated. I'm sure he was involved in helping find new owners in Nashville also. As is the same with Phoenix."

This is actually in the bylaws of the NHL Board of Governors. While perhaps you can attribute said bylaw to Bettman, he did not have specific veto power on the sale or move. The sale could have gone through, but by the NHL Board of Governors bylaws, the team could not be moved for 7 years due to attendance.

The second part of "I am certain he was involved in helping find new owners" may or may not be true and surely is speculation on your part. I mean if he has such wielding power to find investors to keep the team in Nashville, he certainly could have waived that magic wand and kept the Thrashers team in Atlanta, or found investors in Phoenix, etc. (or course I am saying this in jest).

On the Weber / Suter thing, those are good points and another way to slice it. The difference of 3-4m is still a big deal as they still need to shore up that 3/4 spots(s). I did not pursue the offensive side, but that money comes into play there. That said (and I am certainly talking out of both sides of my mouth now), Carle will certainly command 5m-5.5m on the open market. If the difference of signing Suter is .5m -1m, I would certainly like to think that the deal would get done for him to stay in Nashville.

The sellouts are certainly important, yet not nearly as important as expanded TV revenue (not sure how the expanded local viewing market works with the overall league shared revenue) and playoff revenue. Allot of teams black vs. red ink is predicated on playoff games. Yet that can be some dodgy math as well, because it is a income / revenue to expense thing and allot of teams have vested portions in the stadiums, parking, concessions etc that play into that calculation. Go to Forbes (if you have not before) and look up how it is broken down. It is pretty interesting.

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@Vanflyer

I read an article prior to Atlanta leaving for Winnipeg, that the NHL really wanted to move out of Atlanta. The main point in the article was that Atlanta's fans poorly support it's other sports, baseball and football as well. I'm assuming that this also meant corporate support. Where as the NHL felt with proper ownership they could help make both Nashville and Phoenix work once finding a suitable ownership.

As far as defense goes. IF both Suter and Weber are signed with Nashville next season. I see Klein and Josi getting most of the 3/4 minutes. But there are quite a few FA out there as well in the approximately 2M dollar price tag that could help solidify their defense. All the more reason for them to spend the money to keep Weber and Suter.

....and I will check out the Forbes ref later. thanks.

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