Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
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About Bridgestone Arena
Bridgestone Arena opened in December 1996 under the auspice of the Sports Authority of Nashville and Davidson County. Construction costs in 1996-97 were $144 million which is equivalent to $211 million in 2013 currency standards.
All-Purpose Venue Facility
It is an all-purpose venue facility located in downtown Nashville and operated by Powers Management Company. PMC is a subsidiary of the Nashville Predators NHL franchise. The Predators hockey team has played its home games at this facility since 1998. The Predators hosted the NHL Entry Draft in 2003. During the NHL Lockout in 2012, Bridgestone Arena hosted a Southern Professional Hockey League preseason game between the Knoxville Ice Bears and the Huntsville Havoc instead of the Predators. The regular NHL season resumed in January 2013.
A franchise of the Arena Football League, Nashville Kats, hosted their home games here from 1997 to 2001, then during a brief revival from 2005 to 2007. Bridgestone Arena hopes to host Arena Football games again in 2015 with the Nashville Bulls contesting for the citizens of Music City.
Other events at Bridgestone Arena include religious meetings, basketball tournaments and Professional Bull Riding contests. PBR contests, once known as the Bud Light Cup, is now called the Built Ford Tough Series. Men and women basketball teams of Southeastern Conference and Ohio Valley Conference are held here every year. The first and second rounds of the men's NCAA tournaments are held at Bridgestone Arena in odd-numbered years. Demands of NCAA regulations instigated positive changes in scoreboard technology at BA. In the summer of 2007, the outdated octagonal scoreboard was replaced with cutting-edge digital control room and scoreboard at the cost of 5 million dollars.
Wrestling and boxing matches, ice skating shows, U.S. Gymnastics championships plus trade shows are accommodated at Bridgestone Arena, too. The Bridgestone Arena can be configured for end-stage, center stage and half-house events with seating capacities for 18,500, 20,000 and 10,000 people. The seating configuration has only one level of suites and no mid-level seating which allows upper level seats closer to the action.
Music City Concerts
The Country Music Association Awards moved their ceremony from the Grand Ole Opry House in 2006 to the Bridgestone Arena. Seating capacity of the musical theater is rated at 5,145, but the concert stage is able to entertain up to 20,000 occupants with all the audio and video gadgetry concert-goers expect, plus room for support personnel and commercial vendors. Musical entertainment ranges from Iron Maiden with Megadeath to the stars of American Idol, Grand Ole Opry stars to Broadway musicals. The Bridgestone Arena has been nominated four times for the Pollstar Concert Industry Venue of the Year Award.
Name Changes of the Bridgestone Arena
The Nashville Arena, dedicated in 1996, was built on an angle at the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue much like the Ryman Auditorium which was the home of the Grand Ole Opry. The Nashville Predators signed an $80 million naming rights contract with the Gaylord Entertainment Company in 1999 and the arena was renamed the Gaylord Entertainment Center. After Gaylord Entertainment Company sold its shares of the Predators, the arena was renamed the Nashville Arena then the Sommet Center for a short time as new owners assumed naming rights. Since February 2010, Bridgestone Corporation has been the owner of record and assumed naming rights of the arena.