Let me start off by saying that this wasn’t technically my first Predators experience. I did go to a preseason game at the beginning of the season. However, I will confidently say that a preseason game is ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE NEAR the experience of an actual Predators experience. You know, like going to one when a playoff spot is on the line and their facing one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Yeah, that was my experience on Thursday night, March 23rd. I want to categorize my experience on the basic things needed at an arena for a fan to have a good experience, then I want to rank my experience in that area from 1-10 then give my overall ranking out of five categories, which is a possible 50 points. DISCLAIMER: Yes I am a Predators fan, and a HUGE Nashville lover, but this will not be biased. This is my HONEST opinion.
First Category: Getting there
This is not the Nashville Predators organization’s fault. But man, Nashville needs to fix their traffic problems. It was a struggle getting to the game on time to get my food and sit down in time to see the wonderful, world class introduction. Not much to say here.
Second Category: Getting into the Arena.
This consists of getting out of the car, going up to the arena, getting your tickets, scanning them, etc., and I will tell you it was a part of what made my Predators experience amazing. Walking up to the arena, I noticed that they were scanning people just to go into the Predators Team Store. Like, although that’s really off-the-wall, it made me feel secure and safe as I headed into the arena. Then, one of the security guards came up to me and said “You guys are going to a Predators game! Smile!” At other sporting events I’ve been to, the security guards may give you a little wave, but that’s it. The ones at Bridgestone Arena were very friendly, unique, and kind! Next, going through the security line was about ten seconds at most. They were also friendly as well. The Will Call booth to retrieve my tickets were very smooth and fluent (aside from me spilling all of my M&Ms), and the lady there was spectacular and friendly. The young lady who scanned my tickets was really helpful in telling me where everything was and where my seat was, and I found my seat in under 5 minutes. All that smooth transitioning made my experience very unique.
Third Category: Concessions
Not much to say here, because everything went as expected (when it comes to Bridgestone Arena). The lines were moving fairly quick and the service was really fast. The prices were VERY high, of course. I mean $12 for some nachos and a drink. C’mon! But aside from my wallet, it was very painless and smooth.
Fourth Category: Workers
I kind of touched on this in the previous categories, but this is a huge variable that makes a big impression on Bridgestone Arena and the Predators. I can say that not one Bridgestone Arena worker I encountered had a bad attitude or was rude. They were all really serious about their job while at the same time being friendly and kind to everyone that approached them. If they didn’t like their job, you really couldn’t tell.
Fifth Category: In-Game Experience
This encompasses a lot of variables that the organization can and can’t control. However, it does matter, and most of it went in their favor. Firstly, the Predators played well vs. a very good hockey team. Not only did they win, but they kind of dominated (in my opinion). Secondly, the fans there were fun and very kind, much like typical Nashvillians. The fans behind me and beside me were really kind to my cousin and I, (one even told me my shoes were untied), and the collective chants they do during the game are amusing and fun to participate in as well. The Predators organization’s traditions are valued greatly by the fans, from the goal song to the “You suck, it’s all your fault” chants to the opposing goalie only positively adds to the fun experience. The fact that Nashville really clings onto their Nashville roots is also really cool. For example, playing country music during the game, having live performances at every intermission, and the goal song being a song we all know from an artist we all know, ties the Predators logo to the city of Nashville really well. And a little side note here, I loved the creative marketing strategies they use (such as Mayor of Smashville, something I’d LOVE to be one day). And the bottomless drinks for the rest of the season thing, which is smart because in order to get the drink you have to go to the game. Ok, let me stop talking about the creative marketing.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience and the Predators winning made it much better. Thank you to the wonderful Predators workers who work hard everyday to make sure ordinary people like us have a great time at any Bridgestone event. Also, thank you to the three Predators employees who gifted me the tickets to my first ever Predators experience. Out of five categories (a possible 50 points), the Predators get a 44/50 from me.
Wonderful organization and wonderful arena in a wonderful (but needs better traffic regulations) city.