"Back in 2007, when we first negotiated this group, the big issue was whether Predators were going to stay in town," said Saul Solomon, Director of Law for Metro Government, who oversaw contract negotiations. "We feel this contract fully solidifies that we will have hockey in Nashville. So we're very excited about that."
The new deal relies more on incentives than guaranteed dollars. Metro cut back on the amount of subsidy coming from the city's general fund by $1.3 million.
Solomon told Nashville's News 2 the arena was never meant to be a money-maker.
"I do think that it's very difficult to run these types of arenas at a profit," he said, "but we believe the presence of the arena generates tremendous traffic downtown [and] helps the merchants downtown, which generates sales tax. We think there [are] all types of benefits other than the strength being on the arena."
Nashville Sports Authority members feel Predators management has done their part to boost team support, claiming a rank of sixth in nation for arena attendance.
Those filling the seats will pay more under the new agreement. Additional surcharges have been added to fund arena maintenance and improvements.
"Given a choice between the taxpayers funding that and the use of the arena funding that, we felt that the users, it was better there," Solomon said. "It's never a good thing to have to put surcharges on tickets; but even with the surcharge, we're still very, very competitive with other surcharges in other places."
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