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NHL Predators' home may be named Bridgestone Arena

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The home ice of the NHL's Nashville Predators is expected to get a new name from another company that's close to home.

The current Sommet Center in downtown Nashville will become Bridgestone Arena under a naming rights contract that is pending approval by the Nashville Sports Authority, team officials said Tuesday.

Bridgestone Americas Inc., the North American subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., has headquarters in Nashville. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

"We are excited to have a locally based partner with the global brand equity and recognition of Bridgestone," said Ed Lang, the team's president of business operations.

The former Gaylord Entertainment Center has been home to the Predators since 1998.

The team and company also announced a five-year extension of their existing marketing partnership.

"Bridgestone Americas is proud to be a part of Nashville, and this naming rights agreement will let the world know that Nashville is our home," said Christine Karbowiak, Bridgestone's executive vice president of community and corporate relations.

Late last year the team accused the Sommet Group of failing to pay for its naming rights. In January officials announced that the dispute had been resolved, though the Nashville Predators were free to pursue a new naming rights partner.

Sommet, which handles human resources administration, had owned the naming rights for three years.

The team announced Tuesday that the new name would be in place for the Predators' March 2 game against the Edmonton Oilers.

The arena is also used for basketball tourneys, concerts, the Country Music Association awards show, circuses and other events.

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Nashville Predators: http://predators.nhl.com/

Sommet Center: http://www.sommetcenter.com/

Bridgestone Americas Inc.: http://www.bridgestone-firestone.com/