At long last, the Nashville Predators ownership group has completed the purchase of the minority share formerly held by "Boots" Del Biaggio out of bankruptcy court, solidifying the local ownership group's control of the franchise and positioning them to eventually bring in new partners. Josh Cooper of The Tennessean got the word out just a few moments ago.
Last month, the Metro Sports Authority signed off on the deal, and it was originally hoped to conclude by mid-August, but procedural delays dragged this out a little further. Ok, Mr. Wilson, it looks like money time is coming soon!
The team's press release follows...
Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran announced today that the Predators ownership group has completed the purchase of the franchise ownership shares previously held by Forecheck Investments, LLC (William "Boots" Del Biaggio previously owned 83% of Forecheck Investments).
The transaction has been approved by all the necessary parties, including the National Hockey League and the Metro Nashville Sports Authority. As a result of the transaction, the local ownership group now owns more than 95% of the franchise ownership shares.
And no, "Forecheck Investments" has nothing to do with "On the Forecheck"!
Here's the rest...
"This is a significant step for the Predators franchise on several levels," Cigarran said. "First and foremost, it strengthens our franchise's financial position and eliminates a significant future liability. In doing so, it closes the book on a distraction and allows the Predators and fans to move forward, focusing on what matters most - putting the best possible team on the ice and creating the best possible in-arena atmosphere and entertainment experience. Also, while the franchise was initially known as Nashville's team because it was created here in Music City, this transaction reinforces that theme as more than 95% of the ownership shares are now held by local residents."
Completion of this transaction is the latest in a line of major steps forward, both on and off the ice, for the franchise in recent months:
- In February, 2010, the Predators announced Bridgestone as long-term naming rights partner, re-naming Music City's downtown sports and entertainment venue as Bridgestone Arena, aligning the team and building with a locally-headquartered world class brand and marketing powerhouse.
- The Predators completed the 2009-10 season with 100 points, marking the third 100-point season in the last five years; the team became one of just five NHL teams to have won 40 or more games in five straight seasons while qualifying for playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
- The Predators announced an expanded television contract with FOX Sports Tennessee, designed to bring more games to Predators fans over the next four years, beginning with a 60-game package for the 2010-11 season.
- The Predators added to their team roster with the free agent signing of center Matthew Lombardi and trade acquisitions of defenseman Ryan Parent and winger Sergei Kostitsyn while naming Olympic gold medalist/defenseman Shea Weber the team's captain.
- In August, the Predators announced Jeff Cogen as CEO of the team and Bridgestone Arena along with Sean Henry as President and COO, signifying a strengthening of senior leadership and reinforcing the vision to make Bridgestone Arena the number one sports and entertainment venue in the United States with a Stanley Cup-winning hockey team as the centerpiece.