Gaylord Suit Settled

Gaylord Entertainment Co. and National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators have resolved their long-running legal battle over the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Under a settlement announced February 23rd, Gaylord will give up its naming rights to the Nashville venue and pay the team $4 million in cash and $5 million plus interest over five years, beginning one year after professional hockey returns to the venue.

The team will begin seeking a new naming rights sponsor immediately.

The Predators sued Gaylord in May 2003 when the company stopped making payments on its 20-year, $80 million naming rights contract. Gaylord countersued, saying the Predators had breached the contract involving the company’s investor status.

The original 1997 contract gave Gaylord a 20 percent interest in the team with an option to sell its stake back. Gaylord maintained it was exercising the option and that the Predators owed the company money, but the team argued that Gaylord had not received the necessary approval of the NHL and the team’s owners.

A judge ruled in March 2004 that Gaylord had to resume its payments.

Under the settlement, the Predators will assume full ownership of the venue.