We all know how special it is to live, work and play in and around Nashville. On days like today, we get to take a moment to celebrate what we have built together and how special the next 30 years will be. In order to appropriately celebrate the future, we must also pay homage to the past, which begins with the individuals who have been at the leadership helm of Metro Nashville over the years.
In the late 1990s, Mayor Phil Bredesen outlined his vision for building an arena downtown, which would serve as the catalyst for an influx of economic development, new hotels, hospitality and business growth. Ultimately, an explosion of downtown residential activity occurred, all of which made Broadway the vibrant district we enjoy today. In 2007, recently elected Mayor Karl Dean made sure the Predators wouldn't leave town and helped a local ownership group of Day One Season-Ticket Citizens save a team that seemed destined to move. From there, increased stability for the organization both on and off the ice led to a new set of agreements with the Nashville Sports Authority in 2012, which set the tone for the relationship between the city and the team that we are familiar with today. The Nashville Predators became a staple of downtown Nashville's landscape, while growing the game of hockey around Nashville at Ford Ice Center Antioch and soon at Ford Ice Center Bellevue (in partnership with Metro Parks). Most recently, Mayor David Briley has helped usher in a new era of Smashville, one we could not have even dreamed of in the 1990s or in 2007, including implementing the visionary lease agreement that was just approved.
We would not be here today without the leadership of Metro, the Sports Authority and from the state level, which began at the very inception of the team. We are flattered to have been a part of that history, and we are ecstatic to be a part of an even brighter future, thanks to the recently approved 30-year lease between the Nashville Predators, Bridgestone Arena and the Sports Authority. We always knew we wanted to call 501 Broadway home for as long as possible, and it has been just as important to make sure we keep Bridgestone Arena updated in a manner that enables it to be recognized as the state-of-the-art building our fans deserve. Fortunately, Mayor Briley and the Sports Authority share our vision and found a path to accomplish that lofty goal. Our relationship with Metro is the envy of our industry; countless other teams and cities reach out to us to understand how we forged this type of relationship. The answer is always rooted in the same foundation - a shared vision for using the strength of our partnership to benefit our city, our fans and our partners. Unfortunately, a team and a city creating a new 30-year lease for a 23-year-old building is far too uncommon. The unique bond we have created makes this 50-year marriage that much more special and provides another example of why we have established the gold standard in public-private partnerships.
Without the relationship with Metro and the Sports Authority described above, we would not have hosted what we think of as our debut on the international stage in 2016. We all had a sense of what Nashville could be, but the city, our fans and our partners came together to put it all on display with the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend. Until then, I don't think we fully understood that we could change the sports landscape. We followed up the best All-Star Weekend in NHL history with more than 100,000 people in the streets a year later for the Stanley Cup Final. Now, the NHL and other sports leagues are looking at us to see how we're going to change how the game is celebrated next.
Additionally, none of this would have been possible without our loyal Season-Ticket Citizens, fans throughout Smashville and our sponsor and suite partners who have stood by our side through good times and not so good times. Whether you were a Day One Preds fan, attended the Save the Team Rally in 2007, or showed your Preds Pride during the Stanley Cup Final run in 2017, you should be immensely proud of your role in creating something very special. You supported this organization in a way that positioned us to create this cutting-edge, 30-year lease, which will allow us to book the best artists, allow the Preds to flourish right in the heart of Nashville and allow Powers Management to foster a world-class building, all while freeing Metro's operating and capital budgets of any and all financial obligations.
For the first catfish tossed, the first standing ovation and the first time you "stood with us" during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I thank you. For the unwavering support and the enthusiastic spirit you bring to Smashville each time you come, I thank you. Now, let's have some fun as we make a whole new set of magical Golden Moments over the next 30 years.
President, CEO & Alternate Governor