NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Predators fans are getting ready to pack Bridgestone Arena for a big game which will determine their standing as the NHL's top team. In an effort to maintain home ice advantage, there could be some changes coming for some ticket holders.
Over the last few seasons, the organization has been searching for way to keep seats at Bridgestone filled with Preds fans. The problem is there are often games, especially against teams like Chicago, where Preds fans are outnumbers by folks from out of town.
More times than he cares to count, season ticket holder Jason Turner said he can recall Predators fans being outnumbered by fans from the visiting team.
"How can we stop this from happening, how can we preserve home ice advantage for the team," Turner said. "I think it also became an issue because the team was doing so well this year."
Starting next season, the team is going to start buying back tickets, above face value from season ticket holders who don't want them for an individual game. Those tickets will then only be sold or given away to Predators fans.
Some business owners downtown though are worried this might keep tourists away. Adam Hensley manages Bailey's Sports Grille downtown and said he’s worried keeping tourists away will hurt business.
“There's not a reason in my opinion we should have classified seating,” he said.
In the end though, the Preds believe it's about keeping home ice advantage for the home team.
“I just believe we have a responsibility as season ticket holders to support our team,” Turner added.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. Thursday as the Preds take on the Anaheim Ducks.