Nashville, Tenn. (May 16, 2019) - Powers Management - the company which operates Bridgestone Arena - and Metro Nashville and the Sports Authority are proud to announce a proposed new lease, pending approval by the Metro Nashville Sports Authority, that relieves taxpayers of financial responsibility for Bridgestone Arena. At the same time, the Sports Authority will execute a tenancy agreement with the team that ensures Nashville's team, the Nashville Predators, will remain at Bridgestone Arena for the next 30 years. This continued partnership between the team, Bridgestone Arena, the city and Metro Sports Authority will ensure continued growth and development of the facility through funding generated by event users, all while relieving Metro and taxpayers of financial responsibility.
"We are most appreciative of Mayor Briley, the Sports Authority and Metro's support and partnership," Predators CEO and President Sean Henry said. "The rise of our franchise and arena growth since the last agreement in 2012 are testaments to a model of public-private partnership and a community-wide embrace and passion for the Predators. Bridgestone Arena is the envy of our industry and could not be what it is today without so many partners coming together to maximize its value, economic impact and benefit to the community. This is exactly where we want to be - in the center of downtown and playing an integral role in our community's growth and development for the next 30 years. This partnership will allow us to book the best of the best events that appeal to all corners of our community, allow the Nashville Predators to thrive in Smashville and allow Powers Management to maintain the building in a world-class way while freeing Metro's operating and capital budgets of any and all financial obligations."
The most crucial element of the new lease is that it relieves the Metro Davidson County General Fund from all obligations of supporting Bridgestone Arena and the Predators. Under the new agreement, existing in-arena revenue streams will be utilized to maintain, improve and expand the building while eliminating Metro's guarantees. And, by changing the funding model, Metro also retains funds for priorities such as the Sports Authority, municipal bonds on other projects and investing in future events.
More than 20 years ago, Mayor Phil Bredesen had a vision that Bridgestone Arena - with the Nashville Predators as its anchor tenant - would bring business, tourism and activity to lower Broadway. The partnership between the city and the team was further enhanced when local owners, the Loyal Legion and Mayor Karl Dean stepped forward to keep the team in Nashville in 2007, and restructured arena agreements and incentives in 2012 to create the booming "Arena district," which has grown exponentially as the team and city invested in the building, leading to an annual economic impact of $560 million and approximately 3,800 jobs.
From the initial agreements in 1997 to the 2019 agreement, the structure has evolved from Metro bearing responsibility for operating costs and capital improvements for the arena with Powers Management having little or no incentive to book additional events, to Powers assuming more risk and more upside for making Bridgestone Arena one of the busiest venues in North America, while eliminating Metro budget subsidies for operating costs and capital improvements. This evolution has created two Ford Ice Centers and resulted in $80 million in private renovations to the Arena in the past eight years, upward of two million guests annually, Pollstar Arena of the Year honors in both 2014 and 2017, and the Nashville Predators being named the No. 1 franchise in all of sports by ESPN.
These new agreements pave the way for the best public-private facility partnership in the United States through 2049. In the new agreements, Powers Management and the Nashville Predators continue to strive toward being a benefit to the city and driver of economic growth downtown and beyond, while removing the capital burden from the city financially.
- The Davidson County General Fund is relieved from all obligations of supporting the arena and its anchor tenant.
- The agreement utilizes existing in-arena revenue streams to maintain, improve and expand the building while eliminating the city's guarantees.
- Moving forward, revenue driven by arena guests will fund ongoing building improvements, not Metro.
- By changing the funding model, the city also retains funds to support the School Board, Sports Authority, municipal bonds on other projects, and investing in future events.
- With 72 percent of arena ticket buyers coming from outside Davidson County, the majority of the funding is being driven by those outside Metro Nashville, creating an incredible return on investment on original investment and true economic drivers.
- Opens the door for continued civic impact through charitable causes undertaken by the Nashville Predators Foundation.
- The creation of projects like the Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue, which sparks economic development and growth in outlying communities.
Bridgestone Arena Highlights:
- Pollstar Arena of the Year: 2014 and 2017
- Nominations: 1997, 1998, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
- International Entertainment Buyers Association's Venue of the Year: 2008, 2010, 2015, 2017
- Academy of Country Music Venue of the Year: 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017
- Country Music Association Venue of the Year: 2017
- ESPN No. 1 Franchise in Professional Sports
- A 153-game sellout streak by the Nashville Predators
- Hosted the 2014 Women's NCAA Final Four ($20 million in economic impact), 2016 NHL All-Star Game ($25 million in economic impact), 2017 Stanley Cup Final ($50 million in economic impact over 11 home games)
- Home of the SEC Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments through 2035
- The 2019 SEC Men's Tournament drew a record 210,000 spectators and generated $23 million economic impact.
Bridgestone Arena Enhancement/Renovation Highlights - $80 million in the last eight years
- Creation of multiple premium areas, including Lexus Lounge, the Bunker Suites and the 501 Club
- Installation of a new Event Level Control Room, LED Ribbon Boards, sound system, hockey dasher boards and glass with LED stanchions
- Construction of the Predators Team Store on Fifth Avenue, Pete & Terry's Tavern and the Barrel House
- Renovations to the Nissan SoBro Entrance, Predators Locker Room and nearly all Arena concession stands and restrooms
- Replacement of all Bridgestone Arena seats
- HVAC renovation and LED sport lighting
- Between various community partnerships the Nashville Predators Foundation contributed more than $2 million back into the Middle Tennessee community during the 2018-19 season alone.
- The Foundation hosted thousands of participants/attendees and raised more than half a million dollars through its annual events in 2018-19
- Through the "Hearts of Gold" initiative, the organization's players and employees annually generate more than 8,000 hours of community service for dozens of charities and nonprofits.
- Ford Ice Center Antioch is one of the busiest rinks in North America, and two more sheets of ice will be added to Davidson County at Ford Ice Center Bellevue in the fall of 2019.
- Through the vision of former Mayor Karl Dean and work of Metro Council member Jacobia Dowell in Antioch, Ford Ice Center has had an economic impact of more than $1.5 million and has sparked exponential redevelopment in the surrounding area.
- The work of Mayor David Briley and Metro Council members Sheri Weiner and Dave Rosenberg spurred the rink in Bellevue, putting the finishing touches on the flourishing One Bellevue Place development.