Thomas Cigarran, the Chairman and lead owner of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, contributed $5,400 to the U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat Phil Bredesen on March 31, 2018, according to Federal Election Commission records, signifying the beginning of the sudden transformation of the organization he leads from a professional major league sports franchise to a Political Action Committee supporting the far left wing of the Democratic Party.
Cigarran’s son, Chris, also an owner of the Predators, donated $250 to Bredesen’s campaign on March 31.
While the Cigarrans made their contributions to Bredesen as individuals, the Predators organization has systematically pursued a political agenda of supporting progressive political candidates and policies during the past year.
The first sign of the organization’s official transformation from sports team to political action committee came in December when the Predators publicly announced their support for then-Mayor Megan Barry’s $9 billion transit tax plan. The plan, supported by former Mayors Phil Bredesen and Karl Dean, as well as current Acting Mayor Briley, was resoundingly defeated by Nashville/Davidson County voters in the May 1 transit plan referendum by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin.
The Predators next foray into partisan politics came at a home Stanley Cup playoff game in April, when Bredesen was introduced as an honored guest to the crowd before the opening face-off.
As mayor, and then later as governor, Bredesen helped funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the Predators franchise.
Last week, the Predators organization doubled down on politicizing their sport, when they endorsed David Briley for mayor, in what appears to be the first time in modern American political history that a major league sports franchise has endorsed any political candidate.
“While it is perfectly legal and appropriate for individuals like the Cigarran’s to donate to the political candidates that they prefer, the decision to use the Predators to advance their personal political agenda is just bad business judgement,” Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill said.
“The fact their business relies on millions of dollars of taxpayer funds that they seem to guarantee through sketchy political favors deserves a lot more intense public scrutiny. If the Predators, or any other Tennessee sports franchises, were backing conservative Republicans instead of liberal Democrats you can bet the leftist media in Nashville would be going ballistic,” Gill added.
Cigarran is reportedly stepping down from his role as Chairman of the Predators in the coming months, to be replaced by fellow owner Herbert Fritch.