In January 1997, a group led by Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold made a formal presentation before the NHL requesting an expansion franchise. When Bettman and league officials visited Nashville to tour the arena, thousands gathered on the Arena plaza to greet them. In June, the league granted conditional franchises to Nashville, Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, and Minneapolis, Saint Paul. The Nashville team would be scheduled to begin play in 1998 if they met the NHL requirement of selling 12,000 season tickets before March 31, 1998.
The Bridgestone Arena is owned by the Sports Authority of Nashville and Davidson County and operated by Powers Management Company, a subsidiary of the Nashville Predators National Hockey League franchise, which has been its primary tenant since 1998. The Predators hosted the NHL Entry Draft here in 2003.
On July 19, 2007, a group of local business owners known as Our Team Nashville held a rally at the Sommet Center to encourage fans to buy season tickets in order to help the Predators meet the attendance figures needed to keep the team in Nashville. They drew approx 7,500 fans and sold the equivalent of 726 full season tickets during the rally. The rally was heavily supported by George Plaster, then a sportscaster on WGFX 104.5 “The Zone” sports radio in Nashville.
On August 1, 2007, the group who had intentions to keep the team in Nashville released a letter of intent from Craig Leipold. After negotiations with the city of Nashville, the local group headed by David Freeman reached an agreement with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and the NHL Board of Governors approved the sale on November 29, 2007. The $172 million acquisition of the Nashville Predators included repayment of existing debt of approximately $61 million and $2.2 million in fees and expenses.
The sale of the Predators to the Tennessee-based group included Del Biaggio, who had been trying to move the team to Kansas City. The locally-based buyers held 73% of the team while Del Biaggio and a minority partner acquired about 27% of the club.
The Nashville Predators are a professional ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Predators joined the NHL as an expansion team in the 1998 – 1999 season, and play their home games at Bridgestone Arena.
1998 – Present / National Hockey League
1998 – Present / Nashville Predators
Predators – In 1971 Nashville, a nine-inch fang belonging to a saber-toothed tiger was discovered during the construction of an office building. Three choices were presented, Ice Tigers, Fury and Attack. Owner Craig Leipold then added his own submission to the vote, Predators. Once the contest closed, Predators ended up being the successful pick.
Stanley Cup 0
2010 – Present / Bridgestone Arena
2007–2010 / Sommet Center
1999–2007 / Gaylord Entertainment Center
1996–1999, 2007, 2010 / Nashville Arena
2007 – Present / Predators Holdings LLC
1998 – 2007 / Craig Leipold
99 Wayne Gretzky
*Blue is this team’s history