The Predators notched their biggest win in franchise history this week, surprising many and churning up a huge new following. But behind the scenes, the Predators organization has been preparing for this moment for years.
To explain the changes last month, Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran told the Metro Sports Authority about a sign that hangs in the Predators office. It spells out a lofty goal for the team and its city-subidized venue.
“Bridgestone Arena will be the No. 1 sports and entertainment venue in North America. And its centerpiece is a Stanley Cup-winning Nashville Predators hockey team,” the sign reads.
“And the reality is: 7 years ago, we were, I believe, the 26th most active arena in North America,” Cigarran said. “We’re now No. 5.”
That stat rolls together all events at Bridgestone, where revenue is up 9 percent over last year and up 76 percent since 2012. The organization credits its concert booking strategy and $15 million in upgrades to its seats and luxury boxes, among other factors.
As for the hockey, Cigarran quotes ESPN: The magazine ranked the Predators the best in the NHL for arena experience and affordability.
The chairman says the franchise has moved beyond what had been persistent doubts about stability and longevity in Nashville.
“The days of, ‘Will we stay here? … Will the team go bankrupt?’ You know, when was the last time you heard that?” Cigarran said. “You don’t have to worry about that.”