About the St. Pete Times Forum
Welcome to the St. Pete Times Forum located along the Garrison Seaport District. Home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the St. Pete Times Forum is the jewel of downtown Tampa. The arena features state-of-the-art technology and innovative design which combine to make the St. Pete Times Forum one of the finest facilities in North America. In addition to NHL hockey, the St. Pete Times Forum hosts more than 150 events annually, including concerts, family events, ice shows, the circus and other indoor sports.
The St. Pete Times Forum encompasses 670,000 square feet with three decks and seven separate levels. The building is 133 feet 10 inches in height and 493 feet in diameter. It contains 3,400 tons of steel, 30,000 cubic yards of concrete and 70,000 square feet of glass. The innovative design of the St. Pete Times Forum provides for 19,758 seats for NHL games, 20,500 seats for Basketball games and up to 21,500 seats for concerts and center stage events. Medallions Food Services, a preeminent organization in the food service industry, is the official concessionaire of the St. Pete Times Forum, providing diverse menu items throughout the arena at restaurants Medallions and Icons, luxury suites and the concourse concessions. There are 80 luxury suites - 28 on the lower level and 52 on the upper level. There are 20 ticket windows and 22 concession stands. Meetings are easily accommodated through the availability of 4 meeting rooms.
The St. Pete Times Forum opened in 1996 as the Ice Palace. The arena was built as a new home for the Lightning to replace Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was then known as the Thunderdome. Upon the completion of the Ice Palace, both the Lightning and the Tampa Bay Storm, also a tenant of the Thunderdome, moved in.
The St. Pete Times Forum officially opened on October 20, 1996, as the Lightning hosted the New York Rangers. The Lightning were victorious in the game by a score of 5-2.
Control of the venue has changed hands five times since the building's opening in 1996. The lease agreement ties the arena to the ownership of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Currently, Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC (an outfit managed by sole proprietor Jeff Vinik) operates the venue. Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC took control of the building in March 2010 after purchasing the Lightning, St. Pete Times Forum lease, and adjacent property.
The naming rights to the Ice Palace were sold to the St. Petersburg Times, a daily newspaper which circulates throughout the Tampa Bay area. Other entertainment events occasionally held in the Forum include concerts, NBA exhibition games, USF Basketball and NCAA Tournament games, tennis, professional wrestling, boxing, figure skating, and rodeos.
The building played host to the 1999 NHL All-Star Game, World Wrestling Federation, and first and second round games of the 2003 NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Forum also played host to 4 of the 7 games during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, as the Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames 4 games to 3 to win their first Stanley Cup.
In 2012, the St. Pete Times Forum will play host to the NCAA Hockey Frozen Four championship finals; this will be the first time the "Frozen Four" will be held outside the northern US since 1999, when the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage, held the event. The Frozen Four will be hosted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the nearest collegiate hockey team to Florida.