Bettman says board could vote on Predators bid by November

Updated: September 20, 2007, 12:58 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The sale of the Nashville Predators is still on course.

While the team's sale was not on the agenda during the NHL board of governors meetings Tuesday in Chicago, commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters the process was continuing.

"We were not at a stage where they can be considered but they both seem to be on track," Bettman said, according to The Tennessean. "The due diligence [on the bids] hadn't been completed, so the interviews hadn't been done. We have a process we go through. Ownership changes are very important and they need to be carefully done."

A group of Nashville businessmen signed a binding letter of intent to purchase the Predators last month. The eight-man group is led by local businessman David Freeman and buoyed by investor William "Boots" Del Biaggio III of California. Del Biaggio came on as a minority owner after he failed to purchase the team on behalf of another group.

Bettman said Tuesday the board will likely have to vote on the Nashville bid, along with another bid involving the Tampa Bay Lightning, by the next meeting in November.

"I can convene a meeting of the executive committee or the sub-committee anytime we're ready, do the interviews, and if we're comfortable, go forward with the fax vote," Bettman told reporters. "There is no magic about the [next] meeting, but I would imagine if [the deals] are going to get done they both would be done by at least then -- if not at those meetings."

The Tennessean reported that one of the voting delays has been a result of issues with the Nashville group's requested changes in the Sommet Center arena lease.