Sean Henry

The Nashville Predators have long been one of the NHL’s best franchises in terms of hosting events and entertainment projects outside of the traditional hockey season.

And now, the organization is primed to take the next step in its operational development with the addition of the newly-created Sabertooth Sports & Entertainment, LLC (SS&E), which oversee operational and sales opportunities outside of just Bridgestone Arena, the team announced on Wednesday.

"We have been working on the SS&E concept for quite some time," Predators President & CEO Sean Henry said in a release. "Due in part to the success of the Predators, Bridgestone Arena and our Ford Ice Centers, we have garnered attention from others in the community asking us for assistance with sales, marketing and event operations. As we take this new step forward, we are pleased to not only help our partners, but to elevate our Middle Tennessee communities and accelerate economic development across our region."

The timing of the announcement coincides with the lifting of all COVID-19-related capacity restrictions for all Davidson County businesses, including restaurants and entertainment venues. Stadium and arena capacity for sporting events will now be determined by facility management. SS&E plans to hire a full staff to work on the company’s new business ventures. 

The Predators and Bridgestone Arena have served as the gold standard for the better part of the last decade in terms of marketing, entertainment and fan experience.

Through strategic partnerships with the Simmons Bank Open golf tournament, Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, EAMOTION's Jingle Beat, Music City Winterfest and CMA Fest – all of which will now be managed by SS&E -- the Predators have expanded and fine-tuned their entertainment experience and community outreach initiatives.

A list of services SS&E will offer include project management, consulting, sales, marketing, event booking, ice rink operations, venue operations, special event coordination, economic development and administrative support.

"SS&E will be visionary; it will work without fear of failure," Henry said. "Just as we do at the Ford Ice Centers, SS&E will have dedicated staff with a great deal of expertise and experience. They will share the same business philosophies and values of the organization and they'll have the Arena, the Preds and our leadership team behind them, supporting all key decisions and operations."

The Predators own and operate two Ford Ice Center locations – Bellevue and Antioch – and are working with the city of Clarksville to open the Multipurpose Events Center (MPEC), which will now be supervised by SS&E and feature separate sheets of ice for youth hockey leagues, adult hockey leagues and open skating sessions, and will host local hockey tournaments as well.

Bridgestone Arena, which hosts events such as the CMA Awards, SEC men’s basketball tournament, and Scott Hamilton and Friends, has won several Venue or Arena of the Year awards from organizations including Pollstar Magazine, the International Entertainment Buyers Association and the Country Music Association.

Pollstar recently nominated Bridgestone Arena for Arena of the Decade, and the venue has been nominated for Arena of the Year 16 times by Pollstar since opening in 1996, winning the award in 2014 and 2017.

Continuously ranked near the top nationally in show and concert ticket sales, Bridgestone Arena averaged between 70 and 100 non-hockey events per year before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the Predators and Bridgestone Arena generated $676 million in economic impact for the city of Nashville.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_

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