After the first period, I stepped back into Predators central office and spoke with Parker and Jones.
For those who are not familar with him, here is a bit of Christan Paker's background via the Nashville Predators team page on NHL.com:
Now entering his third full season with the Predators/Bridgestone Arena, Executive Vice President/Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Chris Parker has led the effort to secure partnerships with some of Nashville’s – and the nation’s – most respected and recognizable companies since being promoted to his current title on March 1, 2009. During the 2009-10 season, Parker directed the organization’s efforts to secure Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Inc., as the new arena naming rights partner. Additionally, he was instrumental in adding the likes of Patron Spirits Company, whose name is now on the Arena’s Suite Level Restaurant, the Ford Motor Company/Mid-South Ford Dealers, Comcast, and Nashville based entities Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Daily’s Convenience Stores and Mars Pet Care.
Parker also led the organization’s efforts to secure a new long-term television rights agreement with FOX Sports Tennessee/Sports South. The agreement, which increases the number of telecasts, is also the most lucrative in franchise history. On the ticket sales front, Parker initiated a restructuring effort that resulted in the creation of an inside sales team and a fan relations group more focused and dedicated on the needs of existing ticket holders.
A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in sports management and communications, Parker began his sports career with the International Hockey League head office in suburban Detroit.
Parker resides in Nashville and serves on several philanthropic boards and committees including the Alumni Advisory Board of the Division of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan, as Vice Chairman of the Bernard P. “Pat” Maloy Endowed Scholarship at Michigan and the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee.
Sportaholic: What was the idea behind the changing of the Predators uniforms?
Parker: We wanted to make an iconic symbol for the Nashville Predators. The head crest of the Predators has become synonymous with the Predators and we just wanted to enhance it. The original crest had around 11 different colors in it and we wanted to simplify it. As far as the jerseys are concerned, the color scheme used by the Preds is used by multiple teams in the league and we wanted to make Nashville’s logo one of a kind. (Laughs) Who can forget the mustard color jerseys? When you think of teams like the Red Wings you automatically think of their Red Wings on their jersey, so with the crest on the Preds jersey I think we are establishing our own iconic team identity.
|New Preds Crest|
|Old Preds Crest|
Parker: As soon as the news was announced that they would be moving to Wnnipeg, we sent information to fans of that franchise. Atlanta had a hard core base of hockey that we as a franchise recognized. We want to tap that market and grow Nashville into a regional team, not just a local team. The NHL has rules on territories as far as team are involved, so we couldn’t get into that market until now. Atlanta is one of the top markets in the country and we intend on making our way into that region. Geographically speaking, we are the closet team to that city, closer than Carolina and Tampa so we have to take full advantage of those opportunities.
Sportaholic: You spoke of the grass root movement that you wanted to continue to build on one the earlier question, what steps are the Predators taking in that department and what could they do to improve it?
Parker: I believe Predators fan and Tenneseans as a whole can appreciate the longevity of Coach Trotz, GM David Polie and Brent Pederson. They have brought a certain level of contunity to our organzationn that you don’t see in sports franchises these days.