At the most recent Metro Sports Authority meeting in Nashville, the Nashville Predators revealed a landmark proposal between the city of Nashville and the Predators involving a new 30-year lease with Bridgestone Arena.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new proposal.
The Preds Stay At 501 Broadway
Under the agreement, Bridgestone Arena would remain the home of the Nashville Predators until 2049. Fans of the team, and fans of downtown Nashville, should rejoice at this. With its arrival in 1997, the Nashville Predators irrevocably changed the downtown Nashville landscape. It’s hard to imagine Broadway without the “Smashville” banners lining the sidewalks and without seeing Preds’ fans dressed in gold before and after games.
With this proposal, that won’t change for at least 30 years.
Predators CEO Sean Henry mentioned that this was a crucial part of the deal for the team, saying that downtown Nashville is “exactly where we want to be” for the next 30 years. The Predators are smart to recognize that one of their most coveted assets is their prime location in downtown Nashville.
Metro Nashville Taxpayers Are Off The Hook
Perhaps the most important part of the deal, at least for Metro Nashville-Davidson County residents, is that the lease removes all obligations of the taxpayer for the operating costs of the arena.
Previously, Powers Management (the Predators legal entity) had received upwards of $10 million a year for operations in the arena (usually about $3.5 million per year). This was a result of the deal struck in 2007 when the team was sold and the city made efforts to keep them in Nashville.
But for the next 30 years, the Nashville taxpayer will have to pay nothing to keep the Predators in town. All of the operating costs for Bridgestone Arena will be paid by Powers Management.
Major Renovations Coming
The Predators also announced they are planning $350 million in renovations and maintenance to Bridgestone Arena over the next 20 years.
Some of the renovations will arrive in 2021, those include:
- New seating in the south section (about 1,200 seats total)
- New press box on the east
- Extension to the press box on the west
Future renovations include revamping the south-east corner of the arena to include possible retail/food outlets.
The Preds will help raise the funds to pay for these renovations through a sales tax revenue share (on purchases made at the arena) and a ticket tax that will go up five percent every year. Since the team announced that 72 percent of Predators tickets are purchased by those outside of Davidson County, it’s clear that the team knows who is actually attending games and thus who should be paying for upgrades and maintenance.
“Great moment for the city”
Mayor David Briley said this was a “great moment for the city” adding that “it’s a moment when the city can look back and say, ‘Aha, our investment in this team has paid off.'”
But it’s also a great moment for the Predators.
For one, the Predators avoid a showdown with the city over wanting a new arena, either in downtown Nashville or elsewhere in the county. By taking over the financial responsibility of the arena, the Predators put themselves in the driver’s seat for maintaining the arena and ensuring it remain a popular NHL arena.
We’ve seen over time that the Predators tend to make the right decisions when it comes to branding. This proposal suggests they are stepping up to the plate and taking on more decisions that could benefit both them and the city.
The Predators also have “creative control” over their home, meaning they can expand their brand even more than they already have. Bridgestone Arena is now only limited by the pocketbook and creativity of its ownership group, and they’ve shown us nothing but strength in both areas over the last 10 years.
So, look for Bridgestone Arena to be an even cozier place for Preds’ fans in the future.
The other thing to consider is that with a 30 year agreement on a home in Nashville, Predators fans don’t have to worry about their team leaving for the foreseeable future. This hasn’t been a worry for a decade or so, but you never know. Crazier things have happened.
The Sports Authority still has to approve the proposal at its next meeting. But assuming it passes (which seems very likely), the Nashville Predators will be at 501 Broadway for a long time to come.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —