The best in-game experience in sports is about to get even better.
It'll be impossible for Predators fans to miss Bridgestone Arena's newest toy when they enter the building and step into the bowl this fall with more than 4.2 million new LED pixels hanging above the ice.
Under construction for the past few weeks, a massive center-hung scoreboard will be fully operational in time for the 2019-20 season, and it's going to be spectacular.
With the old Megatron that had occupied the building since the 2007-08 season now dismantled and shipped out, the new structure boasts a 292 percent increase in primary board size, a 424 percent increase in resolution and a 1,787 percent increase in the number of LED pixels compared to the previous scoreboard.
Translation - it's going to be awesome.
"I'm really excited about it for a lot of reasons, but the first one is it's the first tangible project we're doing as a result of the new [30-year] lease, so that alone is pretty exciting," Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. "The first project we're doing coming out of the lease might not be the biggest project we ever do, but it's one of the most passion-filled projects you'll do. The scoreboard should represent the passion of the fans, their connectivity to the game and how we all consume it differently now."
Make no mistake - this new scoreboard, as is the case with a majority of buildings around the NHL nowadays - is a behemoth, but it won't be overwhelming. In an age where everyone wants to have the biggest and best of everything, the Predators didn't see that path as their top option when they began designing the board more than three years ago.
"The first question we're always asked is, 'Oh my gosh, is it going to be the biggest one out there? And we laugh and say, 'It's not going to be the biggest one,' and we don't shy away from that," Henry said. "Instead, it's going to be the best one for us, and that's really important. Every building is a little different, and our building has one of the most unique architectures I've ever seen… Because of that, you don't want to build the biggest one, you want to build the one that connects with our fans the most, and that's what it's going to be. It's going to be a true representation of how our fans celebrate our game."
Those celebrations will come in the form of goals and wins, of course, but the scoreboard's impact will be felt throughout the game, no matter the situation. Henry says the board will feature new capabilities to display on-ice stats in real time, including shots on goal, shift times and more. Replays will come with greater regularity, and different in-game elements will be showcased to the crowd in ways never before seen in Nashville.
The new board is also much lighter in weight than the previous version which will allow better rigging for concerts and other events at the arena, as well as special effects additions during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Additionally, smaller screens on the underbelly of the structure will allow for fans seated close to the ice - and players on the benches - to have a better view of the action.
"The real important part for us and what we designed was in a lot of other buildings - and I'm sure it's right for them - but I find myself watching the entire game on their video board because it's so large, and we don't want that," Henry said. "We want people watching the game on the ice and then reflecting up to the board for a replay, or maybe the puck is on the far end of the ice and you want to watch that instead for a different type of view. Again, for us, it isn't the biggest, it's what we think is the best for us."
Henry says there will be a number of runs, particularly in the preseason, for game operations staff to get everything just right, and there will be constant tweaking as the full capabilities are put into motion. The Preds plan on taking feedback from fans as well, holding focus groups and reviewing what works and what can be done better.
However, one thing is certain - the experience of a Predators game at Bridgestone Arena will never be the same, and that's a very good thing.
"We already know we have the best fans in sports, and this is just one more element we can add to give them the best show we possibly can," Henry said. "When you love a team, you want to know the team has the best food, experiences, services, cares most about the fans, and best team of course, too, so I think when you have an opportunity to put something like this in, you want to make sure you do it the right way. You're excited that you're getting something new, but you want to make sure it pays off when our fans come and see if for the first time."