To keep the Nashville Predators hockey team in the Music City after this season, the team needs to average paid attendance of 14,000 per game, according to the Daily News Journal newspaper of Tennessee. The organizer of a local support group, however, said the average needs to be 16,000 in order for ownership to break even.

The Predators have never averaged 16,000 — their highest average was 15,364 in 1999-2000 — and with about three months to go until the 2007-08 season begins, they have about 7,000 season ticket holders. That’s about where they were at this time last year, the team said.

David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital LLC and a leader in the local coalition which has put a bid in front of current owner Craig Leipold, said an average of 16,000 in paid attendance also would for a bigger player payroll.

“For Nashville to keep the team and make it a viable team, the number we need to be looking at is 16,000, not 14,000,” Freeman said. “You don’t want to be at the absolute league minimum on salary cap because I don’t think anybody wants a team that is here but is habitually in last place. Certainly our investor group, that’s not what we want either. . .

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Last Updated on July 12, 2007