Kats cease operations

Oct 10, 2007 - 11:54 PM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The National Hockey League's Nashville Predators have been rumored to be leaving town. The Nashville Kats beat them to it.

After three seasons in the Arena Football League, Kats owner Bud Adams Jr. announced Wednesday he is folding the team.

"After much deliberation, I have made the difficult decision to cease operations for the Nashville Kats Arena Football team," Adams said in a statement. "I take pride in the fact that we were able to secure an AFL franchise, retain the Kats name and logo and return year-round football to Nashville for three seasons.

"Unfortunately, our ownership group couldn't put together a viable financial model that would be successful over the long-term. I'd like to thank our loyal Kats fans and all of our coaches and staff for their dedication and hard work."

Adams purchased an expansion franchise in 2001 and managed to secure the name of the Kats, which originally played in the Arena Football League from 1997-2001. The club made a pair of ArenaBowl appearances before being bought by an Atlanta businessman, who moved the club and renamed it the Georgia Force.

Last season, the Kats averaged 7,962 fans over eight home games during a campaign in which the league set an attendance record of 12,392 per contest. Nashville, which went 7-9 and failed to qualify for the playoffs, was ahead of only Grand Rapids (6,549) and Las Vegas (5,383) in average attendance.

The Predators, who also have had problems filling the Sommett Arena, have been up for sale since the early summer. Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie attempted to purchase the club but was turned down, and a group of local businessmen reportedly are close to completing a deal that will keep the team in Nashville.

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