The Gaylord Entertainment Center sits amidst the core of downtown Nashville and is at what you could call the
epicenter of the the country music world. Across the street from this building sits the old Ryman Auditorium
which was the showplace that made the Grand Ole' Opry an American institution. On the opposite side of the
arena sits the new home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum set to open in May 2001. And
outside the arena you will see the building's signature structure, a 22 story tower meant to symbolize a radio
tower that would broadcast events from the Ryman once upon a time.

Once you enter the building from the main entrance you step into an impressive lobby with high ceilings,
balconies from which those in the upper concourses can look down into the lobby from, and the escalators
that take people up to the upper levels. The floor of the lower concourse appears to have a mural of a
continous musical score piece going continously around the oval. There are many plaques on this to
commemorate the many sold out events that had played here in the arena's short existence. Unfortunately,
one of the plaques was there in honor of Dr. James Dobson and his Focus on the Family, one of the pillars of
hate and intolerance in our society. As with most other venues, plenty to eat and drink, and don't forget to make
a stop at the Predators Pro Shop at the base of the signature tower.

Step inside the bowl from the concourses and you will see a seating area that varies a bit differently from most
other arenas we have seen. Yes, there are large lower and upper seating areas and a small club level with
suites. However this design exists only from the end of one sideline around behind one of the nets to the end
of the other sideline. In the remaining sections behind the other net there is not as much of a club level and
the upper seating level is lower and closer to the ice than in the rest of the building. An asymmetrical design
unique to Nashville as we were split as to whether this was a cool thing or not. The bowl was decked out in
team colors which was a cool thing to us.

As we said before we had just been forced to suffer through the debacle of the Music City Miracle and we were
bracing ourselves for the reaction in the building that night. As expected they replayed it on the Jumbotron
during a break in play, then came something during another break that gave me the urge to take my Predators
jersey off and burn it right on the spot. They showed a Jeopardy style trivia question that went something like
this....A. Scott Norwood, Brett Hull, and Frank Wycheck.  Q. Name three players who broke the hearts of Buffalo
fans?? THAT DOES IT!!!! LET'S GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!  We definitely thought that one went a bit too far. On the
other hand we did see a funny movie clip later on. With time winding down and the Preds scoring an empty net
goal to seal a 6-3 win, the Jumbotron showed a clip of a, shall we say "fuller figured" woman dressed in opera
garb belting out a high note. Definitely a classic clip we have not seen anywhere else!!

Extra Points
The Predators began play as an expansion team in 1998 so there is not much history here yet. Still that didn't
stop the team from retiring the number 7 in honor of their fans. Of course seeing that just gave us one more
reason to be sick to our stomachs. We couldn't decide which banner was more insignificant, that one or the
one signifying an Arena Football League Conference Championship.

Summary
As you may be able to tell we didn't really care for this place. We'll give this building the benefit of the doubt
though, considering that we were still deeply saddened and angered to the point of numbness. The events of
the afternoon frustrated us to the point that as we left for home the following morning we swore to ourselves
we wouldn't spend another penny on anything until we crossed the border into Kentucky. If we got the chance
to get back (Grizzlies) for another event (Grizzlies) I'm sure we would give this place a better rating.

SCORING:
Architecture 8
Food and team store 5
Scoreboard and electronics 5
Ushers 5
Fan support 6
Location and neighborhood 9
Banners and history 3
In game entertainment 6
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus: Walk of stars embedded on
floor 2, fat lady singing video 1,
signature tower 1

Total: 57
Sommet Center
#21





Gaylord
EntertainmentCenter



Nashville,
Tennessee   




January 8,
2000




Chicago
Blackhawks at
Nashville
Predators



renamed
Sommet
Center
in 2007