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Nashville Headed to Stanley Cup Finals and Paying for Building Upgrades

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May 5, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; The Nashville Predators react to defeating the San Jose Sharks during the third overtime period in game four of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 4-3. Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

There are two sides to sports. The actual game with the Nashville Predators NHL franchise heading to the Stanley Cup finals and business. The Nashville Predators ownership and city officials may soon be talking about a lease extension for the team to continue playing in the city owned arena beyond 2028. But it may cost about $200 million to keep the present arena in a state of the art condition to keep the franchise owners happy.

Nashville hired consultants to take a look at the condition of not only the arena but the stadium that houses the local NFL team, the Titans. The consultants claim that the two city owned facilities need $477 million in improvements over the next 20 years to make sure the buildings are NHL and NFL worthy.

The football stadium could be a bigger problem for Nashville. The structure need of $293.2 million in capital improvements over the next 20 years. Bud Adams moved his Houston Oilers to Tennessee after the 1996 season following a deal with Nashville officials who provided Adams with a new stadium. The problem that Nashville has is the lifespan of stadiums and arenas.

The lifespans of facilities built in the 1990s are estimated to be around 25 years which is a vast departure from buildings that were constructed decades earlier. The new wave of stadium and arena construction in the United States began with the 1986 tax code revision which among other things allowed an owner to take up to 92 cents out of every dollar generated in the building. Cities began competing for teams.

Nashville also went after the NHL’s New Jersey Devils but Devils owner Dr. John McMullen stayed in New Jersey. Nashville got an NHL expansion team in 1997. Facilities have become money pits but that’s the cost of being big league.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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