In 2019-20, his 10th season in SMASHVILLE, Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena President, Chief Executive Officer and Alternate Governor Sean Henry proudly watched the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena create countless GOLDEN moments. In the wake of the devastating tornadoes on March 3 and COVID-19 pandemic that followed, led by the passion and dedication of the greatest staff in all of sports, the organization worked, and continues to work, tirelessly in support of the Middle Tennessee community.
Henry is most proud of and grateful for that very community – all of SMASHVILLE, the Loyal Legion and the 7th Man – for creating such an amazingly unique bond with the Preds. Without their support, we would not have been recognized as Arena of the Year by Pollstar magazine, IEBA, CMA and ACM. Our fan support solidified our spot as a Top Workplace with The Tennessean and as the No. 1 professional sports franchise by ESPN, and without their tireless dedication to this franchise and passion for all we aim to achieve, we would not be the organization we are today. Henry is proud to serve these incredible fans alongside the best employees in the sports and entertainment industry to reach our ultimate goal, to be the #1 sports and entertainment venue in the United States with its centerpiece being the Stanley Cup Champion Nashville Predators hockey team.
The most recent highlight of Henry’s career has been witnessing the Nashville Predators, Bridgestone Arena, Predators Foundation and Ford Ice Centers coming together to address the many needs of those impacted by the recent tornadoes and ongoing world health crisis. Although these groups have been committed to serving the community since Day One, their response throughout this unprecedented time has been a shining light for Nashville and Middle Tennessee. In just six weeks following the tornadoes, more $2.7 million was raised and delivered to the community, with the total surpassing $3.0 million in subsequent weeks. These ongoing, all-inclusive efforts have also featured support from Predators ownership, players, coaches, management and staff, as well as the NHL, other NHL teams and the generosity of Predators fans and partners.
Another highlight, which occurred in June 2019, was the successful approval by Metro Nashville Sports Authority of a new lease, which ensures that Nashville’s team, the Nashville Predators, will remain at Bridgestone Arena through the year 2049. Most importantly, the new lease eliminates the Metro Davidson County General Fund’s support and relieves local taxpayers of any financial responsibility for Bridgestone Arena and the Predators by utilizing existing in-arena revenue streams to maintain, improve and expand the building. Since the last agreement in 2012, the growth of the franchise and arena serve as testaments to a strong model of public-private partnership. As a result of this partnership and a community-wide embrace of the Predators, the creation of projects like the Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue have and will continue to spark economic development and growth in communities throughout Tennessee.
Alongside an annual impact of over $600 million in tangible benefit to the community, the memories built within and around Bridgestone are the intangible and possibly even more valuable impact that the growing success has created. The reach, power and passion of the amazing fan base continue to have SMASHVILLE’s ripple affect extended in so many new ways. From the Nashville Predators Foundation presented by SmileDirectClub to the new Ford Ice Center in Bellevue and Ford Ice Center Antioch, one of the busiest rinks in North America, to the rising media ratings; the borders of SMASHVILLE’s growth positively impact families and businesses all across the region.
For Henry, the cornerstone of our franchise has been the organization’s commitment to the community through the Nashville Predators Foundation and the Nashville Predators youth hockey programs. During the non-traditional 2019-20 season, the Foundation donated over $4 million in cash and in-kind gifts throughout the Nashville community and surrounding areas. The organization’s Hearts of Gold program also infused the area with more than 9,000 community service hours donated by employees, players and staff. Henry recently played a vital role in the Foundation’s groundbreaking naming partnership with Nashville-based SmileDirectClub which introduced SuperGrants valued up to $100,000, allowing several Tennessee-based organizations to complete large-scale projects in support of education, health, and cultural needs. This partnership will greatly expand upon the life-changing work that the Foundation has been committed to for over 20 years. Starting in 2016-17, Henry also contributed greatly to the decision to commit $500,000 over the course of five years to AMEND, an innovative YWCA primary prevention initiative dedicated to ending violence against women and girls in our community.
Henry was born a Nashvillian, although it took him 42 years to get here. Before leading his favorite staff in SMASHVILLE, he served for 11 years as the Executive Vice President and COO of the Tampa Bay Lightning, two years as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Unity Motion and 14 years with Volume Services Inc., where he worked with the Detroit Pistons, St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins.
Though much of his time is spent moving the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena towards its ONE GOAL alongside tireless and passionate SMASHVILLE employees, Henry is grateful for each day he has the opportunity to serve on the boards of the Nashville Predators Foundation, YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville Downtown Partnership, Nashville Sports Council, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, The Sports Fund and stay involved (along with his wife) in his children’s schools, sports teams, marching band and clubs.
Despite the numerous titles and accolades Henry has achieved in his professional career, his reigning Father of the Year Award is one that has no equal and one that would not be possible without the support of his wife of 30 years Tracey Manning (a.k.a. the Suburban Diva) or his four children – Steven, Matthew, Amy and Jessica. How Henry managed to win Father of the Year despite his constant attempts to recreate National Lampoon’s Vacation and repeated stories (all normally captured in the Diva’s writings), is perhaps his greatest achievement. During quarantine, the Henry family ranked those vacations and selected Yellowstone National Park as the top destination. To memorialize their favorite trip, after years of owning bears ranging from small to life-sized, they adopted a real, live bear from the wildlife refuge center in the park.