Sommet Now Bridgestone

Nashville’s downtown Sommet Center is expected to change its name March 2 now that the anchor team, the Nashville Predators, has signed a naming rights deal with a major tire company.

The Predators announced Feb. 23 the arena will be renamed Bridgestone Arena pending approval by the Metro Sports Authority.

The initial term of the agreement is five years with extension options. The arena has had an interesting background with naming rights.

The Predators recently got into a dispute with Sommet Group, claiming the company reneged on making payments per the 2007 naming rights deal.

It was the second naming rights deal to fall through for the Predators since the arena opened in December 1996.

The building started off as the Nashville Arena but became the Gaylord Entertainment Center in 1999 as part of an $80 million, 20-year deal. The Gaylord Entertainment Company quit making payments in May 2003, and the team and company sued each other before settling.