Finance and Sales Ops Dinner

November 6, 2018
Sean Henry, President & CEO, Nashville Predators
& Dave Urso, SVP of Operations, Nashville Predators

In 2016-17, his seventh 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 complete their most successful season to date. Led by the passion and dedication of the greatest staff in all of sports, the franchise sold out all regular and playoff home games and the Western Conference Champion Predators made it to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. As the season ended, it was estimated that during the four rounds, close to $2.7 million was generated for the city through ticket, merchandise and concessions sales taxes; the overall economic impact from a record 11 home playoff games was over $50 million.

Beyond the tangible financial impact on the community, the excitement and enthusiasm generated within Smashville leading up to and throughout the Stanley Cup, was truly immeasurable. What Henry, and the entire organization, is extremely proud of though is the impact the Nashville Predators Foundation made during this time.  Over the four playoff rounds, the Nashville Predators Foundation collectively raised $200,000 which included Auctions, Smash Car and game night sales.  By leveraging Smashville’s passion and support for the team, the Preds enter their 20th season after once again setting a franchise high in contributions and entities touched by the Foundation.

The Nashville Predators experienced their first glimpse into the power the team held to make a significant impact in the local economy during the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend. The city of Nashville, its businesses and residents came together to create an incredible, unforgettable weekend celebration of concerts and activities that saw almost 60,000 attendees. Over $20 million in economic impact was estimated during the showcase, with over 5,000 hotel rooms occupied. As the most watched and highest rated All-Star Game in NBC’s history, it was also the most successful and interactive All-Star Celebration in League history.

Economic impact is a tangible example of the strong public-private partnership the Nashville Predators have with the Nashville Metro Government. In Ford Ice Center’s second year, the venue once again consistently capped out ice usage, reminding the Smashville community of the need for ice. After seeing this need, a recent development was born; the One Bellevue Place ice rink, which will break ground in 2017. This rink was created through the need for more ice in Middle Tennessee and the passion our community has to grow the sport of hockey, made possible through the dedication Metro has to the sports community and how it positively impacts families all across the region.

During the summer of 2017, Henry and his talented and revolutionary operations team led Bridgestone Arena through another wave of multi-million-dollar upgrades including a new locker room, a luxury media and crew catering space, the addition of another premium seat location and enhancements in concession areas and restrooms. In his seven years with the Predators and Bridgestone Arena, Henry has overseen more than $60 million in upgrades, improvements and renovations – all a part of the organization’s plan to make the Bridgestone Arena experience for every guest, player, performer, musician, fan and employee that walks through its doors the best it possibly can be.

For Henry, on par with every seat filled, every renovation finished and every ticket sold, is the organization’s commitment to the city of Nashville through the Nashville Predators Foundation and the Nashville Predators Youth Hockey programs. The Foundation’s grants and programs funded more than $1 million in programs and donations to over 400 local organization in the 2016-17 season and the organization’s Hearts of Gold program infused the area with more than 6,000 community service hours donated by employees, players and staff, all of which create a special workplace environment while also changing lives throughout Middle Tennessee. Henry played a vital role in the organization’s 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. Starting in the 2016-17 season, the Nashville Predators contributed $100,000 to their commitment.  

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 and stay involved (along with his wife) in his children’s schools, sports teams and clubs.

Dave Urso completed his first season as Senior Vice President for Business Development in 2016-17. His role concentrates on Bridgestone Arena’s food and beverage and merchandise operations, managing contractual and relationship elements of partnerships with Jani-King, CSC and others and continuing to build upon the Arena’s quality control program. What Urso is most proud of, is the organization’s consistency in continuously making strides to reach its ONE GOAL of becoming the number one sports and entertainment venue in the United States with its centerpiece as the Stanley Cup Champion Nashville Predators hockey team. As the organization grows, its fanbase and economic impact in the community grow alongside it. The Nashville Predators are proud to be recognized year after year by its outstanding venue, dedicated staff, tireless community outreach and city efforts, and envied workplace culture through international and national publications and awards. Urso is honored to work for a company that consistently sets pace and makes historic achievements while doing so. Urso spent 21 years with Centerplate (1988-2009), which first began as a concession manager at the Palace of Auburn Hills until 1995. After this first job, Dave moved onto become a Concessions Manager with the Jacksonville Jaguars until 1997. The following year he started his five-year career with Tropicana Field as their General Manager before becoming Centerplate’s Vice President of Operations for the Southeastern United States in 2002. Most recently, Dave spent six years as a Regional Vice President for Delaware North Sportservice.

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