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Bridgestone Arena: 15 Years In 15 Days -- 2000

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
This is the fourth installment of a 15-day series that will celebrate Bridgestone Arena’s 15th anniversary on Dec. 17, 2011.

15 Years: Those Who Stood Up And Said Yes

Today we look at how Bridgestone Arena came into existence. Before shovels were stuck into Nashville’s soil near Broadway and Fifth Ave., there were long and detailed discussions working their way through local government. As with any massive project in a large city, there were detractors and supporters. But when the final votes were tabulated, it was passed by the Metro/Davidson County Council in 1993 and construction began shortly after. Since then, Bridgestone Arena has brought millions of dollars into the local economy, created jobs and helped establish Downtown Nashville as a family-friendly destination that is highly regarded throughout the world.

George Armistead (Civic Leader) The Year In Review Did You Know In Their Own Words

George Armistead, Civic Leader
George Armistead is a former member of the Metro Nashville Council and was a part of the vote to approve the arena.

2000 Year-In-Review at Bridgestone Arena

March Madness swept through Bridgestone Arena when the country’s most popular college tournament came to town. Beginning on March 17, the arena was a host site for part of the South Region and featured first and second round games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The teams competing in Nashville were Cincinnati, Ohio State, Arkansas, Miami (Fla.), Appalachian State, Nevada-Las Vegas, Tulsa and UNC-Wilmington. Cincinnati was the highest seed at the site at No. 2 and Ohio State was a No. 3. But both teams were upset in the second round. Cincinnati lost 69-61 to No. 7-seed Tulsa, and Ohio State lost to No. 6-seed Miami. Tulsa would go on to the Elite 8 before losing to North Carolina 59-55.

Bridgestone Arena was "Upset Central" during the 2000 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament with the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds in the Nashville Regional both pulling big Round 2 stunners

Andrea Bocelli dazzled Music City with his legendary voice
One of opera’s finest talents and biggest stars graced the stage at Bridgestone Arena on April 3, 2000. Along with the World Symphony Orchestra, Andrea Bocelli, the world-renowned tenor, delivered goose bumps to the packed house. It was no surprise considering Bocelli is widely regarded as the most popular Italian classical singer in the world. He was a highly sought after artist, especially since he had toured North America and South America for the first time the year before. His first concert was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City and it sold out quickly. But to those who witnessed the performance in Nashville, it was another stellar reminder why this is called Music City.
Those who were there still talk about it today. The Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Reunion Tour stopped at Bridgestone Arena on April 12 and didn’t disappoint. It was the first full-length tour the band had embarked on in 11 years and it traveled the world. Parts of the tour were dedicated to hardcore fans, but the band played many of its widely-known hits, like “Born to Run” and “Thunder Road.” Springsteen also played at Bridgestone Arena in 2008, but the 2000 reunion event still holds a special place in the hearts of his Nashville fans because of the length of time between tours.

Bruce Springsteen fans saw the legend up close during a rare tour

The Dixie Chicks were dominating the charts when they played Bridgestone Arena
The Dixie Chicks were at the height of their fame and fans turned out in droves. The super-talented and sometimes controversial trio played two shows at Bridgestone Arena in September of 2000. This was the first headlining tour for the Dixie Chicks and they made the most of it. It was named The Fly Tour in support of their hit album, “Fly.” The tour was nominated for Pollstar’s Major Tour of the Year, but the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Reunion Tour took the top prize. The Fly Tour took place in 80 cities, but when they came to Music City, there was an added vibe in the air.
Many heavy hitters have played Bridgestone Arena through the years. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members and international icons have stepped on the building’s stage. Tina Turner, who was born in Haywood County, Tenn., ranks up there with the best. Turner’s 24/7 Tour came to Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 20, 2000 and the legend’s distinctive and booming voice raced through the rafters. Her North American tour pulled in $80 million, more than tours that year from Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Britney Spears.

Tina Turner returned to the state she was born in to rock out

Did You Know:

  • In 2010-11, $1.1 million of revenue generated from Bridgestone Arena went directly to Metro Nashville public schools.
  • In 2010-11 almost 100 million viewers across America watched events broadcast live (or taped delay) from Bridgestone Arena, including events like the CMA Awards, CMA Country Christmas, college basketball, WWE wrestling, CMT Awards and NHL hockey games.
  • Disney On Ice is Bridgestone Arena’s longest continually running annual event. The first show date was April 9, 1997 and there have been a total of 85 shows.

In Their Own Words:

"One of the funniest memories had to do with office furniture. It was in very short supply. I remember bringing in my tailgating table and chair from my house. That was my office furniture for about the first six months.”
   --Original Bridgestone Arena Employee, Elaine Lewis, Nashville Predators executive assistant

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