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VOL. 39 | NO. 29 | Friday, July 17, 2015

Success spurs attendance for Predators

By Tom Wood

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Declining attendance was an issue for the Nashville Predators several years ago, but the NHL franchise is no longer skating on thin ice. In fact, they are an excellent example of how an ownership change and recommitment to its core values can turn things around.

When the Predators debuted in the 1998-98 season, average attendance was 16,194 per game. Four short years later, that average had fallen nearly 3,000 per game to 13,228. And a year later, in 2003-04, it dipped to a low of 13,157.

Then the NHL locked out its players when the collective bargaining agreement expired and eventually canceled the 2004-05 season.

Helper

In 2007, then-owner Craig Leopold announced plans to sell the team and Powers Management (which operates the arena) to a local group led by businessman David Freeman.

Ever since, the franchise has been on an uptick. The naming rights deal for Bridgestone Arena was sealed in 2010, and the deal was extended a year later through 2019.

And beyond hockey, Bridgestone Arena has taken off, currently ranking as the world’s eighth-busiest venue for the first half of 2015 and No. 2 in North America.

It serves as permanent home of the Southeastern Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments through 2026. It hosted the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2014, will host the NHL All-Star weekend next January and brings in major concerts and other events.

The NHL All-Star Weekend will shine yet another international spotlight on Nashville and is expected to generate a $10 million economic impact for the Nashville community.

“Our organizational goal is to operate and maintain Bridgestone Arena as the No. 1 sports and entertainment facility in North America with a Stanley Cup champion Nashville Predators team as the centerpiece,” says Gerry Helper, the Predators’ senior vice president of hockey communications and public relations.

“It is with that goal that our staff is fully committed to delivering the best possible experience, environment and customer service to each and every guest when they visit Bridgestone Arena, be it for a Predators game, a concert, a family show or basketball game.

“This past year was especially rewarding as Bridgestone Arena received Pollstar’s Arena of the Year Award, with numerous enhancements taking place in the building, the Predators were one of the top teams in the NHL and the franchise enjoyed record-breaking support within the home arena and the community.”

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TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0