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Pro sports in Middle TennesseePosted Saturday, April 19, 2008, at 3:14 PM
When the Nashville Predators first came to Middle Tennessee back in the late 1990s, I wondered how long they'd last.
In a way, I'm surprised they've stayed around this long. But I'm glad the Predators are still here. They add a different dimension to area sports.
I wasn't exactly happy watching Detroit's Johan Franzen slip the puck in a small crease behind Dan Ellis and into the goal Friday night.
That overtime, game-ending play wasn't because of any lack of effort from Ellis.
We're hearing regularly that Nashville's business community needs to throw more support (in other words, $$$$$) behind the Preds. Sometimes I wonder if too much is made of corporate support vs. Joe Fan, although I realize that's where a large part of operating funds come from.
Meanwhile, the Seattle SuperSonics received NBA approval for a move to Oklahoma City. And that got me to wondering.
I suspect Middle Tennessee's saturated as far as pro sports until the population grows -- and it probably will, if things continue as they are -- enough for another major-level pro team.
Could the Nashville Sounds become a major league team in the case of league expansion? Or could the area support an existing major league team if it moves? Or would MLB think we're too close to Atlanta and Cincinnati?
How about an NBA team? I doubt it, since Vanderbilt's support is okay but Murphy Center is largely empty when MTSU's men's basketball team plays.
It's a shame that NASCAR can't find a way to run a Sprint Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway. I'd guess a fan base definitely exists.
Any other thoughts on pro sports in Middle Tennessee?
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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