Ticketmaster website taking deposits for "Hamilton Predators" NHL franchise

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Ticketmaster began taking deposits for Hamilton Predators season tickets on Thursday even though Jim Balsillie's purchase of the NHL team in Nashville has yet to be approved.

The tickets are being offered on first-come, first-serve basis and deposits will be refunded if the team isn't moved to Hamilton by December 2009.

A $500 deposit is required for upper bowl seats at Copps while $1,000 is needed to reserve a seat in the lower bowl. A $5,000 deposit will get you a corporate box.

The arena currently seats 17,500 and has 10 corporate boxes.

The NHL's board of governors has yet to approve Balsillie's proposed purchase of the Nashville team for between US$220 million and $238 million.

Balsillie's lawyer Richard Rodier says that Hamilton is a contingency plan in case things don't work out in Nashville. Despite having one of the best teams in the NHL last year, the Predators attendance was among the worst in the league.

Hamilton has long been rumoured as a potential NHL city and has actually held a ticket drive before. More than 13,000 season tickets were sold in 1990 when Hamilton was bidding for an expansion franchise.

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