Bridgestone Arena Becomes First Nashville Venue To Use ‘Just Walk Out,’ ‘Amazon One’

Photo: Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

A convenience-oriented store is opening at Bridgestone Arena. This makes the arena the first Nashville sports and entertainment venue to feature Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One.

The store will open on Friday (Nov. 25) as the NHL’s Nashville Predators host the Colorado Avalanche. A second store, powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One, is planned to open at Bridgestone Arena in early 2023.

“We are excited to be collaborating with Amazon and Twice Daily to add this new technology to Bridgestone Arena,” says Nashville Predators & Bridgestone Arena Senior Vice President of Operations Dave Urso. “This new technology will offer added convenience, and quicker transactions at our Twice Daily stores allowing fans to spend more time watching their event and less time standing in line.”

Amazon’s physical retail technologies are designed to enable an effortless and convenient shopping experience by eliminating checkout lines and giving guests the option to pay with their palm. Guests visiting the Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One-enabled store at Bridgestone Arena can insert their credit card or hover their palm at the entry gates to shop.

Once they’re inside, anything a guest takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back on the shelf comes out of their virtual cart. When guests have completed their shopping experience, they will be able to leave the store and the credit card they inserted or linked to their Amazon One ID will be charged for the items they took.

The store, which is branded “Twice Daily” and operated by foodservice and retail partner Delaware North, is located near section 323. The second store will be located in section 114. Offerings include an assortment of packaged beer, spiked seltzers, soda, bottled water, chips, candies and sundries.

“We are always looking to implement technology solutions that improve speed of service and convenience for guests,” explains Michael Geczi, Delaware North’s general manager at Bridgestone Arena. “Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One will deliver a fast and frictionless experience at these stores–helping to eliminate lines and get fans back to the action faster.”

“Bridgestone Arena has been recognized as a world-class arena, and we are thrilled to continue to elevate the sports and entertainment experience for guests of the famous Nashville landmark with Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One,” adds Dilip Kumar, Vice President, AWS Applications. “Fans watching the Predators and other live events can now enjoy a seamless experience when they grab refreshments and return to their seats in record time.”

Delaware North employees will serve as greeters and provide in-store assistance as needed. Guests purchasing alcohol will be required to show their ID to a store attendant for age verification.

This news comes on the heel of Bridgestone Arena earning another nomination for Pollstar‘s 2023 Venue of the Year award. This is the arena’s 15th consecutive and 18th overall nomination for the honor.

Bridgestone Arena, David Kells Earn Nominations At Upcoming 2023 ‘Pollstar’ Awards

Pictured (top): Bridgestone Arena. Courtesy of the Nashville Predators; (bottom): David Kells. Courtesy of Pollstar

Bridgestone Arena has been nominated by Pollstar for the 2023 Arena of the Year, while Bridgestone Arena and Nashville Predators Executive Vice President of Entertainment & Venues David Kells has earned a nod for Pollstar’s Venue Executive of the Year.

This is Bridgestone Arena’s 15th consecutive and 18th overall nomination for the award, and Kells eighth time being nominated for Venue Executive of the Year after winning in 2017 and 2022. The award recognizes the venue executive who exhibited integrity, operational competence, marketing savvy, can-do attitude, flexibility, calm under stress and business acumen.

“First and foremost, we want to thank our staff, fans and the music and touring community for making Bridgestone Arena a premier destination and the best environment in the sports and entertainment industry. We are absolutely thrilled to have received our 15th consecutive Pollstar nomination for Arena of the Year,” Kells says. “I am truly honored to be nominated alongside so many other incredible individuals in our industry.”

Bridgestone Arena ranked third in the United States and fourth in the world for gross ticket sale revenue, according to Pollstar‘s 2022 Third Quarter Industry Report. The quarterly report stated that Bridgestone Arena grossed $54,803,565.60 in revenue and sold 536,802 tickets.

Pollstar’s Arena of the Year award recognizes the arena that showcased superior programming, effective promotion and marketing, quality production values and staff, an exemplary experience for fans and artists and consistent box office success. Bridgestone Arena won the award in 2014 and 2017.

2023 Pollstar Arena of the Year Nominees

  • Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
  • Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, WA
  • Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX
  • Kia Forum, Inglewood, CA
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Moody Center, Austin, TX

2023 Pollstar Venue Executives of the Year Nominees

  • Christy Castillo Butcher, SoFi Stadium/YouTube Theater
  • David Kells, Bridgestone Arena
  • Geni Lincoln, Kia Forum
  • Jeff Nickler, Moody Center
  • Josephine Vaccarello, Madison Square Garden
  • Keith Sheldon, Hard Rock International
  • Laurie Jacoby, Barclays Center

Pollstar Magazine focuses primarily on the concert industry and also reports on news regarding sports and entertainment. The nominating committee is comprised of industry leaders in all facets of the entertainment business, including arena managers, artists, artist managers, agents and promoters from across the country and abroad.

Nashville Predators Foundation To Host Hockey Fights Cancer Night On Nov. 19

Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators Foundation, empowered by SmileDirectClub, will host their first of two Hockey Fights Cancer Nights on Nov. 19 as the Preds host the Lightning at Bridgestone Arena.

The Preds Foundation looks to build off the support seen during their Hockey Fights Cancer efforts last season, which raised $400,000 for the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily.

“We are proud to support this incredible initiative and celebrate the fight against cancer,” says Rebecca King, Nashville Predators Vice President of Community Relations. “We want to encourage our fans to contribute to this campaign and raise awareness for the vital cancer research that takes place at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.”

Hockey Fights Cancer is a league-wide initiative created by the NHL and the NHLPA to unite the hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families. Players will show their support by wearing special Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys and use lavender stick tape during warmups.  Additionally, some of Nashville’s iconic structures and businesses—the Adventure Science Center, AllianceBernstein, Bridgestone Arena, Bridgestone Tower, Grand Hyatt Nashville, Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, Historic Nashville Metropolitan Courthouse and the scoreboard at First Horizon Park–will be lit in lavender as a display of support.

“We’re so grateful for the longstanding, caring partnership of the Nashville Predators and Hockey Fights Cancer,” says Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, President of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “Their support bolsters our ability to drive life-changing advances through pediatric cancer research, including the development of new treatments and how we personalize cancer care for each child.”

To help make an even bigger difference, the Nashville Predators Foundation is calling on Smashville to support Hockey Fights Cancer, the 365 Fund and the important cancer research taking place at Monroe Carell. Here is how fans can get involved and show their support:

  • Bid on silent auction items, such as lavender jerseys to be worn by the Preds in warmups before the Hockey Fights Cancer game and plates decorated by patients at Monroe Carell, by texting PREDS to 76278.
  • Donate to the 365 Fund Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily.
  • Purchase a lavender “I Fight For Foam” puck in honor, or in memory, of someone fighting cancer. Stop by the Foundation table (Section 106/107) during a Preds game to purchase.
  • Purchase tickets to the Nov. 19 game and $10 from each ticket purchased through this link will benefit the 365 Fund.

Predators Sign Nolan Burke To Three-Year, Entry Level Contract

The Nashville Predators are signing forward Nolan Burke to a three-year, entry-level contract, Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced.

Burke, 19-years-old, is skating in his fourth season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting in 2022-23. Through 16 games, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound center leads the OHL in goals with 15. He recorded a career-high 34 during the 2021-22 campaign.

Burke is also second on the team and tied for sixth in the OHL in points with 24 (15 goals, 9 assists). He extended his goal and point streak to five games (8 goals, 2 assists) after scoring on Sunday at Guelph.

He’s recorded a point in all but two of his contests to begin the 2022-23 season and has tallied seven multi-point efforts. Among these are three three-point outings, one of which was a hat trick on Nov. 2 vs. Guelph. In the face-off circle, Burke is operating at 57.2 percent, having won 91 of his 159 draws.

Undrafted, all of Burke’s 137 career OHL contests have been with Sarnia after making his league debut in the 2018-19 season. He’s recorded 96 points (55 goals, 41 assists). After posting 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 44 games during his sophomore OHL campaign in 2019-20, he notched a 49-point improvement (34 goals, 25 assists) and led his team in goals in 2021-22.

Prior to debuting in the OHL, the Peterborough, Ontario native spent two seasons in the OJHL with Pickering and Trenton from 2017-19.

Predators Slim Down Roster Ahead Of Home Opener

Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators have announced some roster moves ahead of their home opener, which include sending six players to their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

The players going to Milwaukee include forwards Jimmy Huntington, Mark Jankowski and Philip Tomasino, and defensemen Kevin Gravel, Jordan Gross and Roland McKeown. Goaltender Connor Ingram was claimed on waivers by Arizona.

These moves come after the Preds played the San Jose Sharks in the NHL Global Series in Prague. Nashville won both games, winning the first 4-1 behind goals from Nino Niederreiter, Eeli Tolvanen and Matt Duchene. Juuse Saros also shutdown the Sharks, making 30 saves. The Preds won the second game 3-2 as Niederreiter scored twice, including the eventual game-winner in the 12th minute of the second period.

Nashville will face their rival, the Dallas Stars, at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. CT.

The Predators current 23-man roster is set as shown:

Forwards: Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, Cody Glass, Mikael Granlund, Tanner Jeannot, Ryan Johansen, Michael McCarron, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Sanford, Kiefer Sherwood, Colton Sissons, Cole Smith, Eeli Tolvanen, Yakov Trenin

Defensemen: Mark Borowiecki, Alexandre Carrier, Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro, Roman Josi, Jeremy Lauzon, Ryan McDonagh

Goaltenders: Kevin Lankinen, Juuse Saros

Press Kit: What To Expect From The Predators This Season

Filip Forsberg. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

Hockey season is back and the Nashville Predators are hitting the ice to play the San Jose Sharks in Prague as part of the NHL Global Series.

After a disappointing end to a season which, in many ,ways the Preds over performed, there was a lot of speculation regarding John Hynes at head coach and David Poile as the team’s General Manager. Tons of questions surrounded the re-signing of Filip Forsberg and whether or not Nashville would try and rebuild or continue to contend.

Roman Josi. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

Despite the retirement rumors, Poile re-signed Forsberg, gave Hynes a two-year extension and bulked up the team to make them a heck of a lot better.

So what can fans expect from their 2022-23 Nashville Predators after an above average season last year and busy offseason?

The first thing we need to look at is the positives that came out of last season.

You can’t argue that players like Forsberg, Matt Duchene and Roman Josi had, offensively, three of their best seasons ever. Without their efforts, the Preds wouldn’t have come close to the NHL Wild Card spots. Forsberg had his best seasons ever, scoring 84 points with 42 goals and 42 assists, both career highs. The Preds locked him with an eight-year, $68 million deal in July.

Duchene finally had the breakout season the team had been hoping for since they signed him in 2019. In 2021-22 he scored 86 points with 43 goals and 43 assists, a career high in points and assists.

Along with Josi, who was the Norris Trophy runner-up and also scored a career-high 96 points–the most scored by a defender in over two decades–these offensive performances put the team in a great position to win. However, outside of these three superstar performers, the Predators struggled to pickup any additional momentum. Sadly, their defense, which gave up 250 goals, didn’t help either coming down the stretch.

Ryan McDonagh. Photo: Courtesy of the NHL

In the offseason, the Preds made two major acquisitions to help boost their blue line defense and add offensive security with two-time Stanley Cup champion Ryan McDonagh and right winger Nino Niederreiter.

McDonagh brings defensive experience to a Preds team who desperately needs it. Last season, McDonagh had 137 blocks and 96 hits for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was instrumental to the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. In 2019-20, he had 101 blocks, 36 hits and 25 takeaways in just 50 games played. Last season for the Preds, only Josi (133), Alexandre Carrier (124), and Dante Fabbro (105) reached the 100 blocks mark.

Nino Niederreiter. Photo: Courtesy of the NHL

Niederreiter is an 11-year veteran who brings experience and goal-scoring capabilities to the right side of the Predators offense, which struggled to produce last season. He’s scored 20 goals or more in each of his last two seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, and in 2021-22, he scored 24 goals, 20 assists and a career-high 44 points. The Preds signed him to a two-year, $8 million deal. Nashville will need the best performances from him in a reasonably short window.

Another high point from last year was goaltender Juuse Saros‘ performance in the net. Saros played his first full season as the Preds No. 1 goalie after Pekka Rinne‘s retirement and he did not disappoint. Last season, he played 67 games, picking up 38 wins with a .918 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average (GAA). His GAA was 17th in the league and his save percentage was seventh. With the addition of players like McDonagh, his GAA should go down which will only boost the team to more wins and fewer overtime games.

The biggest question to ask when looking ahead at this season is “Are the Predators better this year than they were last year?” And the answer is obviously yes.

Juuse Saros. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

There are still concerns surrounding the backup goalie conversation regarding how reliable Connor Ingram will be and whether or not Forsberg, Josi and Duchene can repeat last year’s performances. But Preds fans should have higher expectations this year.

The team is far from perfect and, on the surface, they may not be Stanley Cup champion ready but last year’s squad made the playoffs and was significantly weaker.

After the Global Series games, the Predators will return to Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 13 to play the Dallas Stars in its home opener.

Predators & El Jefe Partner To Broadcast All 2022-2023 Matches In Spanish

The Nashville Predators have announced that their Spanish-speaking broadcast partner, El Jefe, will carry all four preseason and all 82 regular-season games for the 2022-23 season.

“We are excited to partner with El Jefe radio for a second season of Predators hockey, allowing us the opportunity to grow our fanbase in the expanding Latin American market around Nashville,” says Nashville Predators Senior Director of Broadcasting Bob Kohl. “El Jefe will help fuel this growth even further by taking their regular-season coverage from eight games last year to all 82 this season, and we couldn’t be happier.”

Last year marked the first time in franchise history that Preds games were broadcast on a foreign language station locally. Preds games on El Jefe, called by Alexis Martines, Manfred Villalobos and Nayele Alamilla, are carried on 96.7 FM, 105.3 FM and 810 AM.

“We feel excited, humbled and so grateful for the opportunity to partner with the world-class Predators organization again this year,” says El Jefe General Manager Wendy Silva. “Our team is super ready to broadcast all of the play-by-play, puck drops and goals for home and away games to our El Jefe radio listening communities.”

El Jefe has served all of Nashville and parts of Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky for nearly 30 years and is Middle Tennessee’s only Spanish-speaking radio outlet with simulcast coverage. El Jefe covers several of the biggest events in Middle Tennessee’s Hispanic community, including Hispanic Family Day, Fiestas Patrias, festivals, concerts and more.

Predators Add Max Herz To Game Day Radio Broadcast Team

Max Herz. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators.

The Nashville Predators have added Max Herz to their broadcast team as the pregame, postgame, and intermission host for all Predators games on ESPN 102.5/106.3 The Game throughout the 2022-23 season.

Herz is a 2017 Vanderbilt graduate and has a string of Vandy athletics experience. He offered his voice as the play-by-play announcer for Vanderbilt Baseball on SEC Network+ in 2021, and was the dugout reporter for Vanderbilt baseball broadcasts on SEC Network+ from 2015 to 2020. He was a sports writer for Vanderbilt’s student-run newspaper The Vanderbilt Hustler and the sports director for VandyRadio.

Herz has also been the play-by-play announcer and sideline reporter for MyTV30’s Friday Night Rivals for the past three seasons.

Former 102.5 The Game host and Preds radio pregame/postgame host Darren McFarland will remain as part of the broadcast team as host of the weekly Preds Official Podcast, and as a co-host on the Smashville Live radio broadcast with Hal Gill.