The home of the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) will have a new name at the beginning of 2012 — the Tampa Bay Times Forum — as the naming-rights holder will be undergoing a name change at the same time.
The St. Petersburg Times is taking a more regional approach to its branding and will seize the moniker of Tampa Bay Times on January 1, 2012. The name change at the Forum will take place at the same time.
In addition, the companies announced that the naming rights contract between the two has been extended through August 31, 2018.
“The St. Petersburg Times has evolved into being a regional newspaper,” said Tod Leiweke, Chief Executive Officer of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Times Forum. “As its management makes the significant step of changing the name on the masthead to represent that progression, we are pleased to announce the Times has elected to extend the naming rights to the arena.”
The arena originally opened as the Ice Palace in October 1996 to serve as the home of the Lightning, who began play at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall and then moved to Tropicana Field. The building’s name was changed in September 2002 to the St. Pete Times Forum when Times Publishing signed a naming rights contract with Palace Sports & Entertainment, then the parent company of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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