RCF Boosts Fan Experience at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena

July 19, 2017

10 years ago, Nashville hockey fans were holding rallies to save the franchise. Since then, they’ve made the playoffs almost every year, but have never advanced past the second round. Until this year. The Predators reached the Stanley Cup finals with the city embracing the team and games becoming a marquee event in town.

The excitement went beyond simple playoff fever. Predators’ management turned Nashville into “Smashville” with events, promotions, music and facility upgrades all related to the entertainment value and fan experience.

“AV is an integral part of that experience,” notes the arena’s Senior Director of Technical Operations Ben Bosse. “More than integral, it is an essential item,” attributing the music and video as a big part of the “total game experience” relating both pre-game and post-game productions and inciting the crowd during in-game breaks in the action.

According to an ESPN Ultimate Standings fan survey from this past fall, “The Bridgestone Arena topped the charts in stadium experience, and it seems like it will only continue to improve,” as management had already announced plans to improve the arena.

Into the mix comes Durrell Sports, a Nashville-based sports stadium consultant.

“Bridgestone has always been a home town favorite to our company,” says Durrell principal John Horrell. “We have been connected to them, as being their main sound consultant, lessor of audio equipment, provider of Media Services and supplied audio technicians for the past twelve years.  Watching the success of the building (rated in the top five most used stadiums in the country 10 years running) and the success of the Predators team has been exciting to say the least.”

Durrell was involved with the selection of the original system 12 years ago. Recognizing that system was showing its age and in need of repairs, and with the commitment from the facility management for needed upgrades, Horrell started to explore new solutions.

When he heard RCF has released their large format HDL50-A line array system, he was intrigued. “Most companies build line arrays for the live performance touring industry.” With the size of the arena, “we wanted tour quality sound in an installation friendly solution,” adding, “plus the cost versus capability ratio of the RCF system made the choice even easier.”

RCF Engineer Emanuele Morlini is on hand to assist Durrell Sports in the rigging and positioning of the HDL50-A modules

Having had the chance to experience the RCF system himself, he felt confident in his selection.

Time was now becoming of the essence, as the Predators were heading to the playoffs.

Durrell reached out to RCF for a real-world system demonstration – put the system up for use by the arena for the duration of the playoffs.  It is a solution Durrell believed in and the Bridgestone

executives had faith in, being a great exciting solution to “get us through the playoffs and greatly increase the fan experience.”

Within six days of the final decision the old sound system was taken down and the new RCF system was put up. “Immediately I was very much so impressed, the RCF system gave us a much more dynamic sound with low frequency that had never been part of the Predator fan experience,” notes Horrell.

Another reason Horrell embraced RCF is because of the support provided. The company actually sent support with the actual HDL50-A design engineers. “We were able to tune the system and the impact was nothing short of spectacular,” says Horrell. “Fans were energized, motivated and Bridgestone became a very effective tool to aid the players and intimidate their opponents.”

RCF system being prepped for installation at Bridgestone

And Bosse concurs. “The sound system has aided in propelling the fan support to a new height.”

Crowd noise escalated to 107 dB. The fan excitement turned into ecstasy. And the media reported that is what helped to propel the hockey team to the home ice success they are having.”

The success of the sound system actually caused many articles, one from Dan Kingerski on the PittsburghHockeyNow site, “I’m convinced the Bridgestone Arena is using the PA to amp crowd noise.”

Horrell responds saying, “Our job is to produce a show that is exciting using the music, announcements and production – those are our audio tools. The RCF system allowed us, for the first time, to deliver up to 105dB to keep building that, so much desired, crowd excitement,” he said. “The sound system is part of the home team advantage and The Predators, RCF and Durrell put on a show that used every advantage to invigorate the crowd and help propel the team!”

“I am proud that we were able to make the impact desired for Bridgestone,” says Horrell. “This is what Durrell, as a company, strives to provide.  Innovation that makes something special to the fans and the players.  Anyone can pick out speakers – Durrell picks out excitement that sets records.”

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