Tales From The Predsmobile: Representing The Best Franchise On The Streets
By Miranda Martin (https://twitter.com/lovelyminda)
On Monday, ESPN writer Peter Keating released a story showing, by the numbers, that the Nashville Predators have the best franchise value in sports right now.
Since the release, Preds fans all over social media have been having to deal with and fend off fellow trolls from around the NHL and other sport markets alike. Many of them are purely trolls: “But how can you be the best team when you don’t even have a cup!”; “the ‘you suck’ chants are tasteless”; “but you’ve had ticket restrictions for traveling rival fans in the past–how can a best franchise do that?” It’s tiresome, especially since Preds fans have been dealing with the “non-traditional” hogwash since the team’s inauguration 20 years ago.
But trolls come with the territory of being one of the best, and Preds fans have been taking it in stride.
Before I delve further, clearly these “trolls” didn’t read the article published by ESPN. In the article, it clearly states the statistics used to make the Ultimate Rankings are a compilation of “fan surveys and financial analysis to determine which franchises give back the most to fans.” Keating further applauds the front office, taking a franchise that was on the outs from Nashville in 2007 to becoming the hottest ticket in town just a decade later. He also applauds the rest of the Predators staff, who add a personal flair of hospitality to every ticket purchased. The Predators also had the most prevalent social media engagement (though I must admit, Vegas Golden Knights will probably take that crown next year).
Now, when you hear about what the article is about, the other “NHL fans” giving Preds fans troubles are truly invalid. This article didn’t say the Preds have the best team, the best fans, or the best chants. Fans tend to forget that sports are a business, business means value and revenue, and with the Predators value increasing 67% in five years (according to the article), then the message is very clear–the Nashville Predators have the best return value of any market this year.
When I have real NHL fans from other cities visiting Nashville, be it for leisure or business, the fans have nothing but kind things to say about the franchise. This may be because they’re trapped in a small death machine going 70 miles an hour on the interstate, but I like to think that seeing the city and seeing the fanbase has a lot to do with their kind words.
One instance that sticks in my mind is a couple from Calgary that I had as passengers this summer. They complimented me on all of the Preds gear in my car, applauded the team for going to the Stanley Cup Finals, and wished us well in the upcoming season. When I asked why they decided to come to Nashville as a vacation destination, they were very clear that they saw the atmosphere during the Stanley Cup Finals and immediately wanted to come to the city, even in the offseason. They said that Nashville came on their radar at the 2016 All Star Game, which was hosted in Nashville and one of the most fun and highest rated all-star games in recent years. The city’s engagement in the Stanley Cup Playoffs sealed the deal for their new vacation destination. I welcomed them to come back for an actual game, so maybe they’re in the stands for the Calgary game Tuesday.
That’s why the Nashville Predators are the most valued sports franchise right now. People from other teams want to come here. They may struggle to find tickets this year, though. According to the ESPN article, only about 3,000 individual tickets are available for sale each game, and non-season ticket holders in Nashville want those tickets. In fact, I’ve had passengers who just wanted to attend a Preds game (even when they weren’t playing their favorite team), only to their chagrin find the game’s been sold out for a while.
So Preds fans, if you’re truly annoyed with the “fans” who just won’t leave your twitter page alone, I think you should challenge them to come to city and the arena and see how they feel afterward. If they decline because they have no desire, then they’re simply trolls with nothing better to do. If they come and be their troll selves, let’s show them the true value of Smashville by killing them with personal hospitality. If they can’t get tickets right now, then as fans and franchise alike, we must continue to maintain the momentum and be the best valued franchise for many years to come.
And other NHL fans who want to come here, Smashville will welcome you with open arms. We may chirp you a little bit, but if you come with an open mind (and some ear plugs wouldn’t be a bad idea), we’ll show you the true value of coming to a Nashville Predators game, and the ticket will be worth every penny. Just make sure to plan ahead, as tickets are few and far between these days.