The MidAmp? The MidFlo? The MF?!
Let the whimsical nickname hunt commence as the former Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds (previously the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds) got a new amazingly unsexy name on Wednesday: The MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
(Personal note as a music critic: Sigh. Thanks for nothing, Hooters.)
If the amphitheater's fresh handle doesn't exactly make you want to flick your Bic and holler "Free Bird!" — but just imagine the free pens! — let it be known that the company's president and CEO Kevin Jones is a big country fan. His fave? Darius Rucker. Something tells me he's going to get good seats at the show.
"Our real goal is to get our name and message out to Tampa Bay," says Jones, who did not disclose how much his Lakeland-based company spent on the multiyear naming rights for the area's largest outdoor concert venue, which holds 20,000 people. "We were looking for media buys — how do we brand ourselves? Do we use TV, radio, newspaper? This allows us to become a household name."
1-800-Ask-Gary's naming rights, for which Sarasota chiropractor Gary Kompothecras paid an estimated $375,000 a year, expired about six months ago. Live Nation Tampa general manager David Harb said his entertainment company made it a priority to focus on local organizations and were very pleased with this find. MidFlorida Credit Union, the fifth-largest credit union in the state, lists more than $1.8 billion in assets, 38 branches, more than 60 ATMs — and now a totally cool concert shed.
For those about to rock — or take out a car loan — we salute you!
Information from Times files was used in this report. Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.