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If Storm goes, new franchise may arrive

Palace Sports & Entertainment is considering ways to keep an Arena League team in the Ice Palace, be it the Storm or an expansion team.

PS&E president Tom Wilson said Wednesday his company, which recently bought the Lightning and the Ice Palace lease, has had discussions with the AFL about bringing another team to Tampa if the Storm moves.

"The Tampa market has been good to the league, they've won their share of championships and put together a good fan base," Wilson said. "It would be a big loss to the league and the Ice Palace."

It would also be a loss for PS&E, considering its plan to fill the building as many times as possible during the year.

Wilson said there have been discussions between PS&E and the Storm about sharing marketing strategies to help the team financially.

Storm coach and general manager Tim Marcum said the team loses about $500,000 to $600,000 a season.

Marcum confirmed the marketing discussions, but said, "There is not a plan that I know of to move the team. We're the Tampa Bay Storm and that's how it's going to stay."

Asked if PS&E was interested in buying the Storm, Wilson deferred to Lightning and Ice Palace president Ron Campbell, who could not be reached.

"We've had discussions about a lot of different things," Marcum said. "I'm not quite sure whether buying the team has been an option. I know Mr. Campbell has indicated to me they want the Tampa Bay Storm here, one way or another."

_ DAMIAN CRISTODERO

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