Tampa Bay Times gives up naming rights to hockey arena
The Tampa Bay Times Forum, home of the region's professional hockey team, will be renamed the Amalie Arena.
The Poynter-owned newspaper — previously called The St. Petersburg Times — has had naming rights since 2002, when it agreed to a 12-year deal for about $30 million. The agreement was later extended until 2018, but the Tampa Bay Lighting approached the Times about Amalie Motor Oil taking over, Jeff Harrington reports.
"Putting our name on the Forum helped the St. Pete Times connect with new customers, and then helped establish the Tampa Bay Times as our new name. Those business goals have been met," said Paul Tash, the Times chairman and CEO.
For example, the paper's Sunday circulation for Hillsborough and suburban Pasco more than tripled between 2002 and 2013, he noted. The Times also received a strong dose of brand recognition — including more than $1.3 million in media exposure — when the Republican National Convention was held at the Forum in August 2012.
The Times will still be a sponsor of the arena "through a continued presence on the inside LED digital board, behind the coaches' bench and on the radio," Harrington writes.
In March, the Times said it would offer buyouts to employees in advance of "job reductions around the company."
"Revenue at the Times and its sister publications is half what it was five years ago, and the paper has been selling assets around the region," The Tampa Tribune reported earlier this year.