The rest of the sports world is starting to take notice of what fans of the Nashville Predators already know to be true: life is good in Smashville.
ESPN released its annual Ultimate Standings report on Friday morning, with the Predators ranking first overall in the categories of Fan Relations, Affordability and Stadium Experience.
Overall, the club is second out of 30 NHL teams, and even better, sixth out of all 122 professional sports teams throughout the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA. The current spot is 21 slots higher than the team was last year at this time in the rankings.
"When we saw the rankings, we were all pretty excited because of what it meant for our fans," Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. "Everything that we do is for our fans, through our fans. And you look at what we rank number one in all of sports on, fan relations, stadium environment, affordability, it's because our fans and partners allow for those three things."
In addition, the Preds are one of only two franchises to finish first in three categories in the Ultimate Standings, along the with NBA's San Antonio Spurs. The report, which is now in its 13th year, asks fans to vote on different categories to determine the final rankings.
"Our fans and partners have combined and created a pretty special place for this organization and makes us one step closer to our ultimate goal," Henry said. "And while we're really excited about being number six in all of sports, number two in the NHL, we're even more excited about the recognition that we're getting for our relationship with the fans and the environment they've created."
So thanks to you, Preds fans, for helping to let everyone else know how you feel about your team. Not bad for what was once a "non-traditional market."
You can check out the full report here, including the entire list of rankings from around the four leagues.