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Bridgestone Arena: 15 Years In 15 Days -- 2006

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
This is the 10th installment of a 15-day series that will celebrate Bridgestone Arena’s 15th anniversary on Dec. 17, 2011.

15 Years: International Companies Benefit From Arena's Appeal

Today we look at how the relationship between Bridgestone Arena and large companies help grow Nashville into a city that is highly respected across the business spectrum. AT&T, Nissan and other global brands have regional or national headquarters in the area and have utilized Bridgestone Arena for their employees and clients. As Music City’s business landscape continues to expand, Bridgestone Arena is expected to take on an even bigger role.

Gregg Morton (President, AT&T Tennessee) The Year In Review Did You Know In Their Own Words

Gregg Morton, AT&T
Gregg Morton is the president of AT&T Tennessee and considers Bridgestone Arena as a vital part of the business community.

2006 Year-In-Review at Bridgestone Arena

When country music mega-couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill embarked on their Soul2Soul II Tour in 2006, they knew it would be a massive undertaking. They would play 74 shows in 56 cities, which resulted in more than 1.1 million tickets sold. When the event came to Bridgestone Arena on July 29, all of the elaborate stage elements were evident, but there was a sense of being back home for the Hill and McGraw, who reside in Middle Tennessee. As it later turned out, the hometown fans were part of history. The Soul2Soul II Tour was the highest-grossing country music tour of the year, bringing in more than $89 million. When incorporating all genres, it was the third highest-grossing tour in North America that year and trailed only the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand.

Local residents and Country Music power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill shared the Bridgestone Arena spotlight in July 2006

After a one-year stop in New York, the CMA Awards Show returned to Nashville in 2006 and has called Bridgestone Arena home ever since.
CMA Awards shows have been held at many locations, including Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry. But in 2006, the biggest awards show in country music took place at Bridgestone Arena. And it’s been held there ever since. The first show at the arena featured a who’s who of legends and up-and-comers, including Carrie Underwood's performance of her smash hit "Before He Cheats." Underwood took home Female Vocalist of the Year Honors, while Keith Urban claimed Male Vocalist of the Year and Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted was named Album of the Year. Brooks & Dunn claimed four awards and Kenny Chesney picked up the big prize, winning Entertainer of the Year.
It was March 18 and the Nashville Predators were hosting Calgary at Bridgestone Arena. Little did the crowd know that history would take place. The Preds tied a team record with nine goals in one game and defeated the Flames 9-4 in a crucial, late-season intra-conference matchup. The game was tied 4-4 midway through the game, but Nashville scored five unanswered goals and dominated Calgary. Mike Sillinger had four assists, and three other Preds had three-point games, led by Paul Kariya (two goals, one assist). The nine-goal outburst gave the Preds a clean sweep in four games against Calgary during the 2005-06 season, as well as the Preds' 40th win of the season, the first 40-win season in franchise history.
"I Like It, I Love It" got a lot of play during the Preds-record 9-goal outburst on March 18, 2006
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bob Seger brought down the house during his December stop to Bridgestone Arena.
The list of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers to take the stage at Bridgestone Arena grew on Dec. 9, 2006 when Bob Seger came to Music City for his Face The Promise Tour. It spanned 22 cities, but the Bridgestone Arena performance held a special meaning for the legend. Seger recorded most of the "Face The Promise" album in Nashville, and he had strong roots to the city’s music scene that stretched back for decades. Songs performed that night included, “Night Moves,” We’ve Got Tonight” and “Like a Rock.” The audience in Nashville also got the chance to see rising country music star Eric Church open the show. Church, like everyone else in the arena, was privileged just to be in the same building as Seger. “When I think about (Seger), I think ‘rock star,’ ” Church told CMT. “For me, he’s in that category: the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Seger.”
By 2006, Bridgestone Arena was internationally known as a premier venue for top-flight concerts and athletic events. But on Feb. 16, the building showed its ability to hold a comedy event, which most building employees agree is trickier than it appears. The ultra-popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour came to Bridgestone Arena and had more than 18,000 people rolling on the floor. The event featured comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy. The four had the crowd erupting into laughter with stories of their families and personal experiences. It turned out to be one of the last shows the group performed together. After six years of traveling the country, it was announced in 2006 that the Blue Collar Comedy Tour would be coming to an end for good.

Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, and Larry the Cable Guy packed the Arena for their Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

Did You Know:

  • Area and national companies utilize Bridgestone Arena’s expansive meetings rooms for large gatherings. Since 1996, more than 3.2 million people have attended functions in the meeting spaces.
  • The largest attendance for a Nashville Predators home hockey game is 17,298. That was the official sellout crowd during the 1998-99 inaugural season and it happened 17 times. The seating capacity was reduced to 17,113 following the Preds’ first year.
  • Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus is Bridgestone Arena’s longest-running circus. The first show was on Jan. 22, 2004 and it will return again on Jan. 26, 2011. There have been a total of 62 shows.

In Their Own Words:

"The glitz and glamour of the CMA Awards shows brings a little something extra to Music City. And from a personal standpoint, taking our young daughters to family shows and seeing the expressions on their faces as they enjoyed Disney on Ice, the Harlem Globetrotters and Ringling Brothers Circus is a joy. And to think all of these moments and memories occurred under one roof. That’s what makes the Bridgestone Arena anniversary so special."
   --Original Bridgestone Arena Employee, Gerry Helper, Senior VP of Hockey Communications

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