With This New Tech Deal, Bridgestone Arena is a Fan’s Dream
By Winfield Jack
The Nashville Predators scored an assist from Comcast Business to get fans at “Smashville” out of the WiFi “penalty box.”
The National Hockey League (NHL) team partnered with Comcast Business to create a customized, multi-gigabit fiber connection that provides five times the previous speeds—meaning fans will spend less time waiting on loading bars and more time using the now-faster and still-complimentary WiFi—to surf the Internet for scores around the league, check the Nashville Predators mobile app and upload video clips or selfies to social media platforms.
“This agreement with Comcast Business will dramatically enhance the technology inside Bridgestone Arena, aligning with our current efforts in digitally transforming the overall experience for all fans, guests, performers and athletes who visit Smashville,” Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President Chris Junghans said.
The landscape of the sports industry, and larger entertainment industry, has changed as television broadcasting and the Internet have made it all too easy for fans to enjoy a game (or even several games simultaneously) or a concert from the comfort of their homes, so teams and promoters have been looking for ways to elevate in-stadium experiences to keep fans in the stands.
And the sports and music industries in Music City are no exception to the rule. In fact, sports fans and concertgoers in Nashville have become accustomed to elevated fan experiences at Bridgestone Arena; it was named Pollstar’s 2017 Arena of the Year and the 2017 IEBA Arena of the Year. In addition to the Predators, the nearly 20,000-capacity venue that welcomes nearly 500,000 guests annually is the top venue in Nashville for large-scale musical productions and serves as home to the Country Music Association Awards, Country Music Television Awards, Keith Urban’s “We’re All for the Hall” benefit concerts, NCAA, SEC and OVC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The area also regularly hosts famed artists, including Garth Brooks, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Tim McGraw, KISS, Metallica and Lady Gaga.
Looking ahead, Comcast’s fiber connections have the ability to scale up to 100 gigabits per second with the Predators already presenting a heightened mobile ticketing experience for fans. The Predators have offered mobile ticketing for the past two seasons as a way to make entry faster and simpler. The team then began using it as the primary method of entry for all home games starting with the 2017-18 season.
“Mobile ticketing will provide a better experience, while offering more convenience for our Season-Ticket Citizens,” said Nashville Predators Senior Vice President of Tickets, Premium Seats and Youth Hockey Nat Harden. “We are excited to be a leader in new technology and continue to provide the best fans in sports with the best experiences in sports.”
As part of the deal, Comcast Business will furnish the back-end infrastructure to keep the Predators as competitive in business as its players are on the ice (the team made it to Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals).
The Predators’ business side of the house will now be able to share business-critical data though dedicated internet service and advanced cloud-based communications provided by Comcast Business, which already provides television service for the Predators’ suites, offices, concourses and arena restaurants as well as providing networking and communications services to other major sporting venues of teams including the Atlanta Braves, Tennessee Titans, Memphis Grizzlies and San Francisco 49ers.