The St. Petersburg Times will become the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 1
At the start of 2012, Florida's largest newspaper will have a new name, as the St. Petersburg Times becomes the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 1.
The change was made possible by the successful conclusion of a lawsuit years ago giving the Times Publishing Co. the right to use the Tampa Bay Times name.
The new name doesn't herald a change in ownership, headquarters location or news coverage, but does show the newspaper's focus in covering the metropolitan area as a region -- competing for news, circulation, readership and advertising dollars across the entire Tampa Bay locality.
"Like other citizens and civic leaders, we recognize that all our communities have a stronger future as part of a dynamic Tampa Bay region, rather than a constellation of towns and cities jockeying for advantage against each other," said chairman and CEO Paul Tash in a column about the change published on the newspaper's web site at midnight Tuesday. "Now we are putting our own greatest asset – our good name – toward the future of the Tampa Bay region."
The change, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, will extend to the newspaper's naming rights agreement with the hockey arena in downtown Tampa, which will become the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The newspaper has also prepared a Q&A story outlining what will change and what won't with the new name, and an online destination with complimentary statements from notables such as Pinellas commissioner Ken Welch and former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.
Back in 2006, The Tampa Tribune's parent company Media General filed suit against Times Publishing over the name of its tabloid newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, a.k.a. tbt*. Media General alleged the name was too close to the Tampa Times, the name of its afternoon paper which ceased publication in 1982. Times Publishing held the trademark was abandoned; both sides eventually agreed the Times could use the name in unlimited fashion after five years -- a term which has expired.
Click here to see the extensive online presentation, or look below for the multimedia story and the Q&A:
Q. Why is the Times making this change?
A: Tampa Bay Times is a name that better reflects the newspaper it has become and the region it serves. We have been Tampa Bay’s favorite newspaper for several years. We expect that advertisers, readers and subscribers, who might not have been inclined to consider the "St. Petersburg" Times their newspaper, will take a fresh look.
Q. When will I see the new logo in the paper?
A.On Jan. 1, 2012, the new name will appear on the front page. Before that, you will see the logo in promotional ads and materials.
Q: Is the new name only for newspapers you distribute in Hillsborough?
A. No, the Tampa Bay Times is the new name of our daily newspaper everywhere.
Q. Has the Times ever changed its name before?
A. Yes, the original name of the paper was the West Hillsborough Times when it was founded in 1884. A few years later, a new owner moved the paper to St. Petersburg and tried several names, including the Times, the Once A Week and the St. Petersburg Times. By 1898, the newspaper’s name officially changed to the St. Petersburg Times.
Q. What happens to the "St. Petersburg Times" name?
A. It will remain in use. We are exploring a number of possibilities, including using the name as part of our local news report.
Q. How will this impact tbt*?
A. With the exception of a slight update to the logo, there will be no noticeable impact on tbt*, our popular free daily paper read by young professionals throughout Tampa Bay.
Q. How will this impact tampabay.com?
A. Starting Jan. 1, tampabay.com will have a stronger branding connection to the newspaper. Our url will remain tampabay.com, but we will use our new Tampa Bay Times name as the prominent brand on the site.
Q. Will the product or service change as a result of this name change?
A. No, this name change does not affect our current products and services.
Q. In terms of geography, how is Tampa Bay defined?
A. We define Tampa Bay as Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. We also will continue to serve readers and advertisers in Citrus and Manatee counties.
Q. Will the name change impact the price of the paper?
Q. Who do I contact for advertising-related questions?
A. For classified advertising, call 1-877-321-7355. For display advertising, call (727) 893-8725.
Q. Are you being purchased?
A. No, we are still independently owned as we have been since our inception in 1884.
Q. I live in Pinellas County. Will I see less local news?
A. You can expect the same extensive coverage of Pinellas County.
Q. I live in Hillsborough County. Will I see more local news?
A. You can expect the same extensive local coverage. We recently added Sunday publication of our three Hillsborough sections — City Times, North of Tampa and Brandon & South Shore Times.
Q. Will your headquarters stay in St. Petersburg?
A. Yes, our headquarters remain at 490 1st Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL.
Q. What about the St. Pete Times Forum?
A. The name of the St. Pete Times Forum also will change to reflect the new name.
Q. Where do I send my feedback?
A. We’d love to hear from you. If you have feedback, please email us at [email protected].