Nashville Predators: ESPN Crowns Predators As Top Pro Franchise

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Nothing will ease the pain of coming up two wins short of the Stanley Cup, but the Nashville Predators can relish their title as number one franchise.

There are 123 professional sports franchises in the four major sports of North America. They are the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB.  Despite only being in existence for less than two decades, the Predators are transcending the sports world.

This top ranking given by ESPN isn’t just due to the electrifying appearance in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. That obviously plays a big part into that, but it’s much more. The city, the fans, and the Bridgestone Arena staff all play into this recognition.

What Goes Into The Rankings

These rankings constructed by ESPN might be new to some people, but it’s actually been around for a bit. The Predators ranked at No.6 before the Stanley Cup run, so the attention on the Predators is nothing new.

To be clear, the rankings are officially no more. This top ranking given to the Predators is purely based on if the rankings were still put together. However, the Predators would definitely be at the top if they were, per ESPN Senior Writer Peter Keating.

The rankings are based not just on success on the ice, the court, or the field. It’s based on multiple categories ranging from social media engagement to ticket value. Fan engagement is the biggest takeaway from Keating that propels the Nashville Predators to the top. Another interesting note from Keating is the drastic increase of value of the franchise to $270 million, according to Forbes.

Other factors include ownership, coaching, the roster and their chances of winning a championship. It’s safe to say the Predators are excelling in all of those categories. This is ultimately put together by feedback from fans of their own teams, and that is pretty awesome and nerdy at the same time.

Why The Predators Are Deserving

To say the Predators are undoubtedly deserving over all of the other franchises would be stretching it. You can obviously make arguments for other great franchises. It’s important to recognize that this is a very subjective exercise and it requires putting your biases aside.

A Nashville Predators game is one of the best values in all of sports. It’s hard to believe that average ticket prices for a Predators games are just now starting to climb in comparison to the rest of the NHL, per Ticket IQ. The atmosphere is hard to top, and even opposing fans will agree with you. It doesn’t mean they like the Predators, but it does mean that they can’t deny the electricity of being there.

Furthermore, the connection between the city of Nashville and the Predators franchise is something truly special. They arrived on scene before the Titans at a time when locals were confused on how to accept them. A true experiment is now an eruption that makes it hard to find tickets on a school night in October.

As for the team itself, last season speaks for itself. This franchise has gradually been progressing into a top contender. Star players like Pekka Rinne, Filip Forsberg, and P.K. Subban are making this team popular across the country.

The Fans of Smashville

A few examples of why the fans truly deserve the most credit for this accolade is how they’ve responded in the past to tough times. The team was nearly taken away to the extreme that an attendance quota had to be met. Just a few seasons later, the NHL is being blown away by Nashville’s hosting of the All Star Game. To top it all off, an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final in a David versus Goliath matchup against Pittsburgh cemented it all. Needless to say, the Predators rocked the David tag and represented it well.

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It’s awesome to see the Predators get this kind of recognition. It elevates their brand and will create new fans all across the world. As fun as it is, hoisting the Stanley Cup is absolutely the next goal to conquer. One thing we do know is the fans will keep showing up, and only get wilder.