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Bridgestone Arena Renovation Just the Latest Step in the Building's Evolution

Modern sports arenas aren't simply hallowed halls immune to change. Venues like Bridgestone Arena work best when updated to meet the changing environment in which they operate, and this summer's modifications are the next step in a long process.

Right around the time the puck drops on next season, Bridgestone Arena should have a whole new look on the south side of the building, as the Metro Sports Authority yesterday approved the Predators' plans to remodel the "back door" to fit in better with the new Music City Center right across Demonbreun. Nashville's tallest bowtie-wearing reporter shares the details:

Specifically, the arena's south entrance will be significantly modified, creating open space at the corner of Fifth Avenue South and Demonbreun. Two video boards - the one facing Demonbreun will be a prominent 16-by-20-feet - will be installed on the "barrel," the rehearsal hall at the southeast corner of the building. That barrel will also include LED lighting and graphics boards running 130 feet along the building's wall facing Fifth.

A pro shop will be accessible from the street (unlike the current main pro shop inside the building) and adjacent to a street-level pub along the plaza, straddling the existing parking garage.

A second restaurant on the Fifth Avenue side will connect that street with the arena's concourse.

Guiding the continuing evolution of Bridgestone Arena is one of the things that the Predators organization consistently does right. While some cities allow their arenas to remain static, waiting for the day when a team owner can squeeze them to build a replacement, the Preds are treating the building like the economic engine that it is, and are enhancing it over time for optimum performance. Consider a few examples:

  • The Megatron, which tends to be taken for granted after having been around for a few years, but is a dazzling piece of work.
  • The creation of the Fan Zone on the 300 level, a creative way to turn a typical concession stand into a signature space, a destination where folks can meet up, grab a bite, and take in the on-ice action.
  • The 501 Club, which offers a high-end suite experience for those who may only need 2-4 seats, not 15-20 on a regular basis.
  • The new board & dasher system installed in 2011, which doesn't just help ensure player safety during hockey games, but allows for speedier transition between events for the arena operations crew.
  • Increased signage inside & outside the building (hello, Nissan Entrance) to increase revenue, and numerous capital improvements to reduce the cost and environmental impact of the building's operation.
  • So besides Filip Forsberg and this summer's high 1st-round draft pick, it looks like we'll have another shiny new toy to check out in the fall...

    Here's another look at things from the view across Demonbreun at the Music City Center:


    Photos courtesy of the Nashville Predators.