To view a photo gallery of the upper bowl seat installation, click here, or on the photo above.
Recently, the sounds emanating from Bridgestone Arena have not been the traditional clap of a slap shot or twang of a guitar string, but rather the clanging of hammers and grind of sanding machines. In the midst of society’s constant quest to find youth and relevance, Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators have found a Midas-like touch to turn old to new.
The key? A relentless pursuit of delivering the finest to fans and concert-goers by installing, renovating and featuring the latest industry perks in what is months away from being a 20-year-old arena. Not that you could tell.
On the list of renovations this summer - squeezed between hockey seasons and amid concerts - is placement of more than 9,000 new seats in the club and upper-bowl levels.
“It’s an exciting time,” Nashville Predators Vice President of Events David Chadwell said. “We went through a selection process, toured four different arenas with different seat vendors. We chose a particular company that had several different versions of the type of seat we wanted, so we allowed our fans to pick the seat color and type of chair.
“We want to stay relevant. We have a 20-year-old facility, and we want to keep it modern. We’re in the best location, we couldn’t pick a better location if we were to build a new arena, so we’re focused to keeping what we have up to date and up to the latest standards.”
A summer after the lower bowl of the arena received the same facelift, the upper portions of the bowl are seeing old seats torn out, concrete ground down and a safer floor coating painted on, along with the installation of the seats, which all feature cup holders and a closed-cell padding for added comfort.
“It’s not just the seating, we’re grinding down the old concrete, any expansion joints are being filled in again, and that prevents leaks from spills,” Chadwell said. “We’re also recoating the floor with a non-slip coating. There are also eco-glow strips we’re putting on the section numbers and edges of the stairs; that helps people safely see where to go.”
“As our patrons walk into the bowl, they will feel like they’re walking into a new arena,” Bridgestone Arena Vice President of Facility Operations Tim Friedenberger said last summer. “Everything will have been touched in the bowl; every handrail is being stripped of its  years of paint back down to bare metal, sanded and re-painted and every [concourse entrance] will be repainted. New directional signage that is brand-centric to the Predators will be installed - we’ll have our Predators Gold, we’ll have the Guitar Pick, the Pred Head; we want to stay true to the team, so the section numbers will have the same font as the jerseys – down to the guitar strings.”
A fan feeling as if they’ve entered a brand-new venue when they walk into Bridgestone Arena certainly sounds like something that fits within the main goal of being the No. 1 arena in the world. And that’s why up until August, the hammers will pound on and thousands of updated seats will continue to fill the arena that will come out on the other side look and feeling a little bit younger.