Back-up clause could be hang-up in Pyramid/Bass Pro deal

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The city of Memphis cannot make a deal with Bass Pro Shops until city officials settle a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, officials said Friday.

When the Grizzlies came to Memphis and FedExForum was built, the Grizzlies' parent company, Hoops, Inc. had a deal in writing that the Pyramid would be designated as a back up facility.

The contract states that in a rare case of a disaster like a fire or flood, FedExForum would be used as a shelter, and the Pyramid would be the Grizzlies' back-up arena.

Earlier this week, Shelby County Attorney Brian Kuhn sent a letter to Commissioner Mike Ritz and an attorney at Hoops, Inc. saying the issued would need to be resolved before a contract with Bass Pro Shops for use of the Pyramid could go forward.

"I think it is an issue that needs to be addressed, because obviously if the Pyramid is converted to a Bass Pro facility, it's not going to be available for a basketball game," Kuhn said.

City and county officials have discussed designating Little Rock, St. Louis, and Nashville as a backup venue for FedExForum, but so far the wording of the contract has not been changed.

Meanwhile, the city is moving forward on negotiations with Bass Pro Shops, but will have to address the back-up facility clause before anything in writing is completed.

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