Preds Deliver Best Fan Experience, Value in Sports According to ESPN
by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / NashvillePredators.com
When Tom Cigarran put together an ownership group to take control of the Nashville Predators franchise in 2010, one of the first things he did in those early days was eliminate a certain word from the organization’s vocabulary.
No longer would the Predators say they couldn’t accomplish something. Instead, the focus would center on what the goal was and what would be the best way to fulfill it.
Seven years later, “no” still doesn’t get uttered, and because of that, the state of the franchise has never been better. And the outside continues to take notice.
On Monday, ESPN named the Predators as the best franchise – not just in the NHL – but in all of professional sports. It’s a humbling designation, but also one that is worked toward 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and sometimes more than that.
The honor comes on the heels of Nashville’s home venue, Bridgestone Arena, being named Arena of the Year by the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) during their 2017 Industry Awards ceremony last week.
ESPN’s Ultimate Standings compiled fan surveys and financial analysis to determine which franchises give back the most to fans. Customer service, ticket prices, social media engagement, website and app accessibility and usage were just some of the categories listed as to why the Predators received the top spot.
And according to Predators President and CEO Sean Henry, it’s obvious who would be at the top of his list during an acceptance speech.
“I talk this way because it’s true, and I’ll argue with anybody who disagrees with me on this point, but this doesn’t happen without the best fans in sports,” Henry said. “We need to make more of them, we need to continue to grow that base, but our fans have taken it on in a very serious fashion that they own this organization, they’re part of the organization.”
Since 2014, the Predators rose each year in the ESPN Ultimate Standings Rankings, pitted against 121 other professional sports franchises from the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA. Nashville went from 40th in 2014, 27th in 2015 and came in 6th in 2016, including the No. 2 spot in the NHL.