City leaders discuss impact of Preds epic season on Smashville

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Days after the Predators run for the Stanley Cup came to an end, city leaders are talking about the economic impact it had on Smashville.

Sean Henry, CEO of the Nashville Predators, credited much of the team’s success this year to fans.

“The Penguins are what we want to be. We want to achieve what they’ve done,” he said. “I really want to start with the fans. I talked about them saving the team that is the group that is most responsible for creating the team that we enjoy right now. Our fans, from their standing ovations, to our airport send offs, to their crazy passionate chants, to most importantly, for them creating the most unique experience in all of sports.”

Mayor Megan Barry also followed through on her wager and wore a Penguins jersey as part of a friendly competition between her and Pittsburgh’s mayor, and donated $5,000 to the Operation Stand Down organization.

“The Predators were incredible and really made us proud,” she said.

“We saw so many great things happen over the last several months. We saw goals, we saw saves, we saw some calls that were ehhh, we saw great crowds, we saw catfish,” she continued. “It was our first Stanley Cup run but it’s not going to be our last. The Preds are going to be back and I have absolute faith that cup will reside here in Nashville soon.”

The post-season press conference was a celebration of the incredible season the Preds had, but also a look back at the impact on the city.

Economically, from a record 11 home playoff games was more than $50 million.

“It’s incredible, what we’ve always said as a franchise, we can do a lot more than just win games and bring concerts in, that’s what we do. What’s important is what’s behind me. The numbers, the growth, the economic impact, the impact on the community and organizations that change people’s lives every day, that’s more important to us. But it comes with winning and it comes with filling the building up with hockey games and concerts. It really is impactful, what a great city to work in to live in to play in,” said Henry.

The Predators sold out all 41 regular season home games and all 11 home playoff games for the first time in history, in all, 52 consecutive sell-outs.

Merchandise sales were also through the roof, the volume and quantity of items sold are as big if not bigger than sales for an entire hockey season.

The Predators Foundation collectively raised $200,000 through the four playoff rounds.

Viewership for Game Six was the most-watched Stanley Cup Playoff game since 2013, averaging 11.5 million. It was also the highest rated game ever in Nashville.

Close to $2.7 million was generated during the playoff run through tickets, merchandise and concessions sales tax.

The impact of the Predators run can still be felt throughout the city, and the spirit of hockey fans in Nashville is undeniable.

“It was a special year that when we get the chance to raise that Western Conference banner, we are going to appreciate what a wonderful year it was. We will celebrate with our fans and most importantly when we do that we will build upon that success we had this year,” said Henry.

The city isn’t done celebrating the Preds, although a parade won’t be happening, a Draft party is in the works.

“It really gives an opportunity for our fans to come out and celebrate each other, our fans are our family and it’s fun when you get them together. The draft represents what we are going to build on,” said Henry. “There has been a lot of pressure from our fans, our civic leaders have said, are we going to have a parade, where is the mass celebration. We are very sincere about it, it was a great year, we will celebrate it the proper time, enjoy it a few weeks from now, but you have a parade when you win the ultimate prize and not before that.”