Will Mother Times Keep Name on The Forum? Too Soon to Tell
One of the biggest incidental questions to arise from today's news on the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning to Absolute Hockey Enterprises strikes close to home.
Namely, will the hockey arena still be called the St. Pete Times Forum?
The Times Publishing Co. has the right to consent to continuing the deal when ownership changes, according to Andrew P. Corty, Times Publishing vice president. So company officials plan to sit down with the new owners once they've been officially notified of the sale and get to know the new company.
“Any time you have an agreement that includes your name, you just want to be comfortable with all aspects of the organization," said Corty, noting that he found out about the sale from news reports this morning, just like the rest of the Tampa Bay area. "We’re associating ourselves not just with the building, but with the owners.”
Times Publishing entered into the 12-year naming rights agreement in Sept. 2002; next month marks the beginning of the sixth year. Fees for the rights started at $2.1-million in the first year, escalating slightly each successive year -- next year's rate will be just over $2.4-million, Corty said.
He also said Times Publishing was happy with the way the arrangement has worked out so far. "We've gotten a lot of media coverage from the name," Corty added. "It's been a plus."
Here's Andrew Corty's statement:
“We had very high regard for the Davidson organization, and made our naming rights agreement with them. We look forward to meeting the new owners to (hear) about their plans for the team and the building that bears our name.”