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Former TN Gov. Bill Haslam Nearing Deal to Buy NHL’s Predators

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Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Close to Buying Deal NHLX Nashville Predators, according to people familiar with the deal. Herbert Fritsch’s Nashville Predators ownership group is close to a deal to sell the NHL franchise, according to several people familiar with the talks.

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The team is led by Fritsch, a healthcare entrepreneur who has taken over as chairman. in 2019. There is 16 others listed as owners on the team website. Haslam is the brother of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

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A spokesperson for the Predators did not immediately respond to an email and text message asking for comment Thursday night. Attempts to contact Bill Haslam through his brother were unsuccessful.

sports rated the club $680 million, 26th in the NHL. The average NHL team is worth $934 million.

If the team is sold, it will be the second NHL team in the last 12 months to switch hands after Fenway Sports Group acquired the Pittsburgh Penguins late last year. According to one source, Haslam will acquire the team over an unspecified period of time.

Haslam’s father, Jim, founded Pilot Corporation, a fueling and fueling truck company run by Bill and Jimmy in the 1990s (Bill as president and Jimmy as CEO). Haslam served as governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, and prior to that served as mayor of Knoxville. Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.3 billion.

The Predators, who joined the NHL in 1998, have a loyal following in a city with a rich musical history and few professional sports. The team averaged 18,489 fans per game last season, one of Seven NHL teams sell tickets to all 41 home games on average. The franchise has made the playoffs in 15 of the last 18 seasons, including reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017.

The team plays at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville, which opened in 1996. The arena is owned by the local stadium authority but run by the team, which means the Predators are involved in the economy of the concerts and other shows held in the building. It’s a lucrative business – according to Pollstar, the arena was the 13th most profitable arena in the world (and sixth in the US) for touring events in 2019, the last full year before COVID-19 for live performances. numbers.

The team was bought in 2007 for $175 million.

(This story has been updated in the title and throughout with details about Bill Haslam as a potential buyer.)

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