Nashville, Tenn. (September 18, 2019) - Following the June approval by Metro Nashville Sports Authority of a historic lease, which will keep the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena through the year 2049, the summer months at 501 Broadway were filled with countless hours of building upgrades and preparations for the 2019-20 hockey season.
The offseason saw more than $8 million in renovations for one of the country's busiest venues, a continuation of the $80 million seen over the last several seasons. In addition to extensive upgrades throughout the arena, exciting new menu items and the most robust giveaway and theme night schedule in organization history will ensure that the "Year of the Fan" honors the lifeblood of the Predators organization, the fans.
"Our renovations are never finished until our fans see them, review them, critique them and give us that always-needed feedback on how we can do things better," Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. "The lifeblood of Smashville is our fans, and they are the ones who help us define these projects. This is the 'Year of the Fan,' and all of our renovations for this season were done in a deliberate fashion to continue to help make this the best experience for the most passionate fans in all of sports."
Serving as the keystone of this summer's upgrades is the new scoreboard, FangVision, which is nearly 300 percent larger and 450 percent higher resolution than its predecessor. The completion of the board closes out a two-phase, $15 million project, which saw the installation of LED ribbon boards and sound system in Phase 1. FangVision also features underbelly boards that will further enhance views of in-game statistics and replays for players, coaches and fans in the first 10 to 20 rows. Also enhancing the in-bowl experience is an upgraded LED lighting system. Only five years after originally installing LED lighting, this state-of-the-art upgrade gives Smashville one of the most advanced lighting systems in the League.
Alongside the installation of FangVision and lights was the construction of Hap & Harry's Tap Room, a new party suite that accommodates groups up to 50 people in size at hockey games and concerts. Located on Gary Force Acura Club Level, Hap & Harry's Tap Room offers a full-service bar, unlimited food and beverage, in-seat wait service and VIP parking. In the "Year of the Fan," every event inside Smashville will be memorable, but now, fans have the opportunity to enjoy a premium Bridgestone Arena experience with more friends, family, colleagues or clients than ever before.
"Over the past several years we have added the Lexus Lounge and 501 Club, but one area our fans and partners desired was a space larger than a suite but more intimate than the Lexus Lounge to entertain groups and special guests," Predators Executive Vice President/CRO Chris Junghans said. "Based on their feedback, we are excited to debut Hap & Harry's Tap Room for the 2019-20 season."
Even more new food and beverage options will debut in 2019-20, highlighted by the new Drinkville full-service bar on the 100 level. Smashvillians fell in love with frozen drink options first available at the Tito's bar on the 100 level and Patron Bar on the 300 level in 2018-19, and to give them yet another option, Drinkville will offer even more variety of frozen cocktails, and much more.
In an ongoing effort to provide unmatched experiences, and do so in the safest manner possible, improved arena-wide security measures were also put in place this summer. The highlight of these safety enhancements is the addition of five X-ray machines to screen bags as patrons enter the building. Fans are encouraged to leave their bags at home - or stick to clear or clutch bags - in order to utilize Express Lanes and expedite ingress. However, if circumstances necessitate bringing a bag, X-ray machines will provide convenience, comfort and safety to all guests at 501 Broadway.
Following their safe and speedy admittance into the arena, fans will experience a variety of additional upgrades. With the addition of environmentally-friendly water bottle filling fountains throughout the building, visitors are now permitted to bring an empty, 32 oz. plastic water bottle into events. Improvements to arena restrooms include new counter tops and sinks on Club Level, and waterless urinals on the 100 Level that save a gallon and a half of water with each use. Other highlights include a new, exclusive entrance for Lexus Lounge members, a relocated catfish tank located near AT&T Fan Information and upgrades to the meeting rooms behind fan information.
For those who attend world-class concerts at Bridgestone Arena, a full set of 2,000 brand-new floor seats will provide added comfort for the moments when they aren't on their feet enjoying the music. Additionally, for artists and promoters who spend months on the road, event level upgrades will offer an inviting space to relax or work before performing for the passionate music fans of Smashville.
Not only did the Nashville Predators organization complete exciting renovations inside of Bridgestone Arena, but also at Centennial Sportsplex, the Preds primary practice facility, and Ford Ice Center Antioch. Every square foot of the Predators space at Centennial was enhanced, but more importantly, an overhaul of half the public locker rooms was also completed. In addition to rave reviews from Preds players as they returned for training camp, this major renovation has been applauded by the youth and amateur hockey and learn-to-skate families that frequent them. At Ford Ice Center Antioch, NHL-level dasherboards were installed to bring the North Rink up to the same specifications seen in 31 arenas around the League.
"Centennial Sportsplex was the first permanent sheets of ice in the city and is a real treasure to the city of Nashville," Henry said. "We enjoy one of the best public/private partnerships around with Metro Parks and Recreation, and it was great working with them on yet another project to bring a better environment to everyone who uses the facility."
Both on and off the ice, the "Year of the Fan" will undoubtedly be historic. But we aren't done yet. Keep an eye out for more surprises to come as we begin another memorable season of Nashville Predators hockey.