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Inside the Organization: Preds VP of Ticket Sales Nat Harden

Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 5:49 PM CT / Features
Nashville Predators
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Inside the Organization: Preds VP of Ticket Sales Nat Harden
As the Nashville Predators build on the strength of a franchise-record 25 regular season sellouts, NashvillePredators.com chatted with the organization’s vice president of ticket sales, Nat Harden, to get his perspective on the growth he’s witnessed since day one.

NashvillePredators.com: It was an exciting Game 1 vs. Detroit Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena, and there seemed to be remarkably small amounts of red scattered among the “Gold Out.” Were you impressed with how well Nashville fans turned out for the game, went gold, and kept the red out?
Nat Harden: I’ve been here since the beginning. In the early days the fan breakdown would be 50/50 Nashville and Detroit, or sometimes 60/40 Detroit. I think a big difference is that over the years, as the team has become more and more competitive, more and more of those Red Wings fans have turned into Predators fans. Last night was a huge example of that. I couldn’t count 200 people in the building wearing red last night. It’s been great to see that transformation over the last 13 or 14 years. As an organization we’ve come a long way. Hopefully we can continue to keep the red out.


NashvillePredators.com: What’s your reaction to the franchise-record 25 sellouts set by the Predators and their fans during the 2011-12 regular season?
Nat Harden: It was tremendous. Obviously we want to get to a point where we’re selling out all of our home games. But I believe it was three or four years ago that we only had six or seven sellouts. Going from six or seven sellouts to 25 sellouts shows how hockey’s growing in this community, how people have taken to the sport. Our fan base is growing and I think you see it every day. A lot of the kids that were 12 or 13 years old when we came to Nashville are now 25 or 26 year olds and are buying tickets. That’s huge for us. The times have definitely changed. Hopefully we can take that number from 25 sellouts to 30 or 35 sellouts next season.


NashvillePredators.com: The Predators’ season ticket base has consisted primarily of individuals while many franchises sell a majority of their season tickets through corporate supporters. Is that balance changing in Nashville?
Nat Harden: There is a shift. We still weigh heavily toward the individual buyer but there are many companies, many corporations in this community that support us greatly—both from a sponsorship standpoint and a ticket standpoint. There are companies out there, for example CHS who has bought big groups. HCA buys huge groups. This year HCA brought out 3,000 of their employees to three different games. That’s tremendous support by the business community and it continues to improve. I think as the team becomes more and more popular, you’ll see that shift continue.


NashvillePredators.com: Can you talk about how the Nashville market has changed since you started with the Predators?
Nat Harden: In the early years, when there was an icing infraction, there was almost a tutorial in game explaining what was happening. And offsides or any of the things that went on during the game. You could pick up headphones at the sales table to be able to listen to that instruction and learn the rules of the game. Now, driving into work you turn on the radio and you hear fans calling in asking intricate questions about what happened during the previous night’s game, or having strong opinions on what the team should or should not be doing. That’s really, really gratifying. I think we offer great entertainment value for people outside of what’s going on on the ice, but people are more and more involved in what’s going on on the ice versus what’s going on the megatron or what promotion we’re doing somewhere in the arena. That’s a great sign. In the early days it was more about what video clip we showed or what other activities we had going on. People have really taken to the game. It’s growing. You see it in the stands and you hear it when you turn on the radio and listen to the sports talk shows.


NashvillePredators.com: In what areas do you see room for growth?
Nat Harden: There’s always room for growth. As we discussed, we sold out 25 games this season. We want to sell out every home game. And, you know what? There are still people out there in the community that aren’t hockey fans, that don’t watch the sport. We want to reach those people too and we want them to come to Bridgestone Arena and enjoy the games. We’re continually trying to cultivate new fans and get them to our game. From day one we always felt that if we could get somebody to one game they would come back. We continue to feel that way.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61