Predators tweak ticket policy to limit Blackhawks fans

Whether you’re a player on the ice at Bridgestone Arena looking up into the lower bowl, a pedestrian walking down Lower Broadway or a business owner opening his doors to the armies of red-clad fans, it’s impossible not to notice when the Nashville Predators are hosting the Chicago Blackhawks — especially on a weekend.

Since the Blackhawks’ resurgence began about five years ago — during which time they have claimed the Stanley Cup twice — Chicago fans have not only rediscovered their own team but they’ve rediscovered the attractive party city with the warm weather within their division.

By droves they visit Nashville for games, at times attempting to take over the arena, and so now the Predators’ business operation is fighting back.

The Predators instituted two new policies to their ticket sales that could have the added benefit of keeping out fans from the Windy City. First, when individual tickets go on sale on Sept. 7, they will be sold only at the Bridgestone Arena box office.

Second, when tickets go on sale via the Internet about a week later, those who want to buy tickets for Blackhawks games will also have to buy tickets for a second non-Chicago home game.

“For Blackhawks games, we want to make sure that we preserve this building as much as we can for those who live in Smashville,” the team’s chief operating officer Sean Henry told the blog Section 303, using the marketing nickname the organization has bestowed upon Bridgestone.

Those contests involve two inviting weekend dates for Blackhawks fans: Saturday, Nov. 16, Tuesday, Dec. 17, and Saturday, April 12.

Since arriving, Henry and CEO Jeff Cogen have done a masterful job of filling up the building. Last season in only the Predators’ second non-playoff season out of the last nine, they boasted a franchise-record 25-game sell-out streak. That streak began the previous season and extended through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It seems the Preds feel they don’t need to rely on out-of-town fans to fill their building.