NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In just over two weeks, thousands of fans will fill the seats at Nissan Stadium to witness an event that is the first of its kind in Tennessee.
On Feb. 26, the Nashville Predators will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the annual NHL Stadium Series game. It will be the first outdoor hockey game played in the state of Tennessee.
The game is expected to have a little Nashville flair, as country music stars Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley are set to perform. Organizers also expect there to be family-friendly activities outside the stadium.
The game will be the latest large sporting event that has put Nashville back in the national spotlight. President and CEO of the Nashville Sports Council, Scott Ramsey, said the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in December was a big turning point for the city after a challenging 18 months due to the pandemic.
"The bowl game went tremendously well," said Ramsey. "It was a sellout, and we had great ratings and great weather. It kind of allowed everyone to get back to normal."
Following the Music City Bowl, Nashville hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Bridgestone Arena, and a Titans playoff game at Nissan Stadium in January. Ramsey said that momentum is leading up to the NHL Stadium Series game.
"We feel like people are responding. Ticket sales are going well, and people are traveling again," Ramsey said.
More large events are also on the schedule. The SEC Women's Basketball Tournament will be at Bridgestone Arena from March 2 through 6. The St. Jude Rock 'n Roll Marathon is set to return April 23-24.
Ramsey said each event that returns brings an economic boost and national media exposure for the city, but it also provides an emotional lift after a difficult year and a half.
"We are glad to be back to putting on events that represent the city in a positive light and engage local citizens, as well," he said.
Officials with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. also expressed optimism about the year ahead after a successful turnout for Jack Daniel's New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash. It generated an estimated $30 million in direct visitor spending, which was a new record.
Tickets are still available for the NHL Stadium Series game. For more information visit the event's website.