Sunday, December 17, 2017
Colleges

Jeff Vinik group to manage USF Sun Dome

TAMPA — Five years after getting a new look, the USF Sun Dome is getting new management.

In a Monday afternoon news conference inside a Dome lounge area, the school announced it has signed a five-year agreement with a group controlled by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik to manage and operate the facility.

The same group, Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties, entered a 10-year multimedia-rights partnership with USF two weeks ago. Though a different entity from the Vinik-controlled organization that operates the Lightning and Amalie Arena, its objective will be similar.

Albeit on a mildly smaller scale. Seating capacity at the Sun Dome, which underwent a $36 million renovation in 2012, is 10,411. Amalie holds 21,500 for concerts and 19,092 for hockey.

"We see this as a great opportunity in the event business to operate the Sun Dome, with the goal of delivering more events, not only for the students, the alumni, the faculty and staff, but for the greater Tampa Bay community," said Steve Griggs, CEO of TBEP.

"There's a place in the event industry for this venue, a 3,000-9,000 seat venue (when configured for concerts) that we intend to fill that fits the exact niche of this building."

For the customer, that likely means more events annually.

The Sun Dome, which hosts roughly 120 non-USF sporting events a year, could attract more up-and-coming musical acts, classic bands, comics and popular novelty entertainers such as the Harlem Globetrotters.

Self-managed upon its opening in 1980, the Sun Dome has been run in recent years by Spectra, a Comcast Spectacor subsidiary. Its contract expires at the end of June, prompting USF to entertain a number of bid proposals for new management.

"(TBEP) won us over by their ability, I think, to bring more shows here along with just a customer service that is, frankly in my review, second to none," USF athletic director Mark Harlan said.

"So not only is it about the booking, it's about how we present our shows — and that includes our (USF) games."

The next potential noticeable change for the Dome: an expanded name.

As part of its multimedia-rights partnership, TBEP receives the right to secure naming rights for the Sun Dome, and receives 35 percent of USF's annual naming rights licensing net profit, according to the contract.

Contact Joey Knight at [email protected] or (813) 226-3350. Follow @ TBTimes_Bulls.

 
Comments
No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

SUNRISE — Marcquise Reed threw a 75-foot pass to Elijah Thomas for a dunk that put Clemson ahead to stay with 37 seconds left, and the Tigers rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half Saturday to beat No. 22 Florida 71-69 in the Orange Bowl ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Published: 12/14/17
River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

Two years ago, Chris Schwarz was mulling over his college choices. The former River Ridge High standout had offers from Valparaiso, Florida Tech and West Florida. West Florida?That one baffled Schwarz, mostly because he knew nothing about the school....
Published: 12/14/17
Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s difficult to call a volleyball program that has been to the Final Four eight times an underdog, especially the way Florida rallied to beat Southern California and punch its latest ticket. Yet of the four schools descending on ...
Published: 12/13/17
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17