A few days ago, James Mirtle pointed out a piece by Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail that peeled back the curtain a bit on the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the shadowy entity behind not just the L.A. Kings but also a number of arenas and sports franchises around the world. One of the lingering storylines that keeps Kansas City's hopes for a Predators relocation alive is the fact that Boots Del Biaggio has had an agreement in the past to bring NHL hockey to an AEG-run facility in K.C., so the thinking goes that the powerful influence of AEG could help pry the Preds out of Tennessee.
The local ownership group led by David Freeman, however, hopes to make things work in Nashville largely by squeezing more profit out of the Sommet Center to help cover the costs of running the hockey team. The opportunity is there to bring an additional 30-50 non-hockey events to boost that business.
And how, exactly, would the Freeman group bring those extra events to the Sommet Center, and streamline the arena operations to start realizing those profits?
By bringing in AEG to run the arena, of course, according to a report this morning by the Nashville Post's Richard Lawson. Quoth the Post:
"Under AEG, Sommet Center and the Predators could pick up more national advertising and corporation sponsorships and share in the revenue, one industry insider said. The insider said AEG can sell across all the arenas it manages."
The conspiracy theorists are apparently wrong about AEG wanting to manipulate the Predators out of Nashville; they're so far ahead of the game that they'll make out no matter whether the Preds stay or go!
Perhaps the big winner in this scenario would be the Sommet Group, a local firm that signed on for area naming rights just last spring. If AEG comes in and succeeds in drawing more big-name attractions to the Sommet Center, it only boosts the visibility of the arena and the resulting value to the Sommet Group by leaps and bounds.