(Tampa Bay, FL) No big surprise when the Tampa Bay Arena, LP and Times Publishing Company announced Tuesday morning that the St. Pete Times Forum is being renamed the “Tampa Bay Times Forum,” effective January 1, 2012. Last week the St. Pete Times announced it was changing its name to the “Tampa Bay Times” beginning in January 2012. The naming rights contract between the two companies has been extended through August 31, 2018. The home arena for the Lightning will host the Republican National Convention in August, 2012.
“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 Tampa Bay Lightning. 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.
The Lightning are currently owned by Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC (TBSE), an entity controlled by Jeffrey Vinik. TBSE owns the arena operating company, Tampa Bay Arena, LP.