There’s no question about it: Nashville is America’s “it” city right now. Don’t believe me? Ask the New York Times or ABC. People love this city right now – and the Nashville Predators should be doing everything they can to take advantage of the uptick in our national profile. Here are a few ways they can get in on the Music City lovefest and make up some of the ground they lost due to the lockout.
1. Tie-in with ABC’s Nashville
This one is a no-brainer: have some of the characters on the ABC television series Nashville attend a Predators game. It’s timely: people all over the country are buzzing about hockey’s return. And it also fits the show’s world just fine. Bridgestone Arena is popular not only as the home of the Predators but also as a concert venue.
Take Hayden Panettiere or Connie Britton down to a Nashville Predators game, throw in a cameo by famous Predators fans like Carrie Underwood or Vince Gill, and and you’ve got yourself a prime television tie-in event. Maybe you’d even have time to indulge in a staring match between Powers Boothe and Preds assistant coach Lane Lambert for a DVD deleted-scenes extra!
This would be a win-win for both the Preds and the show. NPR’s Ken Tucker said on Wednesday that the show “could use bigger ratings to get past their own parochialism about the Nashville setting to see the ways that the various plots connect to their own lives.” What better way to do that than to spotlight one of the cornerstones of downtown that connects with hockey fans all over North America?
2. Rock the house
Nashville isn’t known as Music City for nothing. This town has built its economy and its image on the commercial power of country music for close to a century now. But these days Nashville isn’t all big country, all the time. In fact, we’ve got ourselves as eclectic a community of musicians as anywhere in America .
Musicians from all over have flocked to Nashville in the last few years and the Preds should leverage this. When we play Detroit, why not kick things off with Motor City native Jack White playing “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Ohio ex-pats The Black Keys could do the same when Columbus comes to town. You could mix it up and have Joy Williams of Grammy and CMA favorites The Civil Wars, who went to high school in San Jose, do the honors when the Sharks come to town.
3. More hockey player/country singer matchups
People magazine is in love with Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher. Its audience is exactly the kind of casual market the team needs to regain a foothold in after the lockout, so why not take full advantage of the situation by pairing up some of the team’s young bachelors with some of the city’s eligible songstresses?
You could go mainstream and set Colin Wilson up with Taylor Swift, and then she could write a break-up song about it. Or go a little more indie and maybe have Craig Smith get together with Caitlin Rose. And if there’s a chanteuse out there who likes French-Canadian accents, there’s always Gabriel Bourque.
Then again, given how badly the team could be hurt by too many distractions in a short season, maybe we should shelve this suggestion until the summer…