NASHVILLE, Tenn. Time is running out on the $193 million deal that would keep the Predators in Nashville. The problem in negotiations isn't with owner Craig Leipold, but between the investors and city officials over the arena lease.
Wednesday had been seen as the last day the Metro Nashville Sports Authority could schedule a meeting to hear and approve lease changes with further authorization also needed from the city council. The investors risk losing exclusive negotiating rights for the Predators on Oct. 31.
The investors' attorney issued a statement that they hope to conclude an agreement by Friday, then work through the authority and council on final approval.
But Nashville officials aren't ready to commit to more taxpayers' money for the team without the investors agreeing first to keep the Predators in town a few years longer.
"As the Mayor said to me this morning, 'If we are going to commit additional dollars to the new owners, then they need to commit to playing hockey at the Sommet Center longer than the current lease requires," attorney Larry Thrailkill said in a letter sent to the attorney representing the investors.
The eight investors put down a nonrefundable $10 million deposit in August, and David Freeman, Herb Fritch and William "Boots" Del Biaggio met with the NHL's executive committee Monday in New York.
Attorney Chase Cole said the investors can only worry about what they can control their work with Mayor Karl Dean and other city officials.
"At the end of the day, it will be the collaborative effort of the Mayor, the Vice Mayor, the Council, and the Sports Authority that keeps this opportunity from slipping through our fingers," Cole said.