It’s no surprise that once again the Nashville Predators made the annual list of the top 250 fandoms across sports, gaming, entertainment and celebrities.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of going to a Nashville Predators game at Bridgestone Arena, then put that one on your bucket list. It’s truly on another level from other sporting venues.
The Nashville Predators have come in at No.224 on the FanSided 250, and No.13 among NHL teams. A fair assessment considering some of the speed bumps the Predators have hit with their play on the ice over the last few seasons.
Despite all of the inconsistencies with their play on the ice, the fan support and atmosphere hasn’t faltered. Fans are as hungry as ever to see the Predators return to the Stanley Cup conversations and get Bridgestone Arena and Lower Broadway rocking again, of course when it’s safe.
Deeper dive into their ranking
In the 2019 version of the FanSided 250, the Predators ranked at a respectable No.184. They’ve fallen back in the rankings, and understandably so. Fan sentiment isn’t as high as it was when they were still Stanley Cup contenders and Pekka Rinne was winning the Vezina Trophy.
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Interestingly enough, the Predators actually moved up one spot among NHL teams from No.14 to No.13. So there’s that.
The ranking is very fair, and obviously you’ve got more than just sports teams to comb over when assembling this massive list of fandoms.
The Predators aren’t nearly the national brand that they were when they were making that magical run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
The fan tradition for the Nashville Predators is highlighted in their ranking this season, including the outstandingly unique tradition of throwing catfish on the ice.
If you’re going to stick out as a fanbase across multiple sports and beyond, you have to come up with quirky fan traditions. What better than throwing a catfish on the ice, and there’s even stories of fans actually sneaking these catfish into arenas.
And how about that extremely impressive turnout of Predators fans at the 2020 Winter Classic from the Cotton Bowl in Texas? It looks like a college football atmosphere, and even though the Predators lost that game, the fans were the real winners.
You also have to have elite superstar type players to boost your overall appeal across the national landscape of sports and beyond. Roman Josi certainly did that in 2020 with his Norris Trophy that recognizes him as the NHL’s top defenseman.
If the Predators can return to being a deep playoff contender, that tradition will return and be as whacky as ever.
Where other notable NHL teams ranked
Well let’s start with who took home this year’s crown as the top fandom, and it was predictably outside of the NHL .The Los Angeles Lakers take the top spot in the FanSided 250 of 2020.
The top NHL team comes in all the way back at No.98 with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Not a huge surprise considering that many still see the NHL as a niche sport.
However, seeing the top NHL team ranked behind some very middle-of-road NBA and MLB teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins is kind of peculiar to me.
Some Predators rivals that made the list include the Dallas Stars ( No.179), Pittsburgh Penguins (No.188), St. Louis Blues (No.196) and Chicago Blackhawks (No.207).
I must admit I’m a little surprised to see the Blackhawks ranked so low, even with their lackluster play and mediocrity in recent years. That fan support and tradition is undeniable.
With many of you also most likely being fans of the Tennessee Titans, they come in somewhat surprisingly at No.105, which is just No.12 in the NFL. Just goes to show you NFL is still king across fandoms in sports.
The strong and solid Predators fanbase will continue to show up and create an electric atmosphere at home games, but the team has to reverse their negative trend in recent seasons. Football is still the top sport in Nashville, but hockey is always going to deserve a spot at the table.