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Predators should stay, but...Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007, at 9:37 AM
Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie is still hoping to buy the Nashville Predators and move the team to Ontario.
News reports indicate he's still taking deposits for arena seating in Hamilton, Ont., despite claiming he now wants to keep the team in Nashville.
But does Middle Tennessee really care if whoever buys the team keeps them in Nashville?
Is the talk of "we need this team" coming primarily from sports boosters who think 'fun' over 'financial bottom line'? Remember, team management emphasized the need for businesses to step in and buy tickets. I realize the rich primarily fund pro sports, but a lack of individual ticket buyers makes a strong statement.
Those of us in Bedford County don't have to deal with the financial angle that Nashville taxpayers could potentially face. We just choose to go to the games and/or watch on TV.
I can easily see how the tax aspect could affect opinions.
Nashville had the minor league Dixie Flyers years ago, who had a relatively small but steady following. College and minor league hockey's also been successful down the road in Huntsville, Ala., but Northern transplants may be driving that market.
It appears Middle Tennessee may not have quite enough fans to sustain an NHL team in the middle of college and pro football country.
Will the Preds stay? Hopefully. If not, I'd say everyone involved gave pro hockey in Middle Tennessee their best shot.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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