Tod Leiweke has been named Chief Executive Officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment and its subsidiaries, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum, Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik announced Monday. Leiweke will also become an Alternate Governor to the NHL's Board of Governors for the Lightning and, subject to approval by the NHL, will acquire an ownership stake in Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment.
Leiweke comes to Tampa Bay from Seattle, where he has served the past seven years as CEO of the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks and President of Vulcan Sports, providing oversight of the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders.
"I am thrilled to welcome Tod to the Lightning organization as CEO and as my partner," Vinik said upon making the announcement. "Tod has the vision, the passion and the experience to lead the franchise towards my goal of being world class on and off the ice. He is an inspirational leader and I am delighted he has shown the confidence in the entire Tampa Bay community to join the Lightning."
Leiweke has extensive experience in the NHL, having served as Executive Vice President of the Vancouver Canucks and President of the then-expansion Minnesota Wild.
Under Leiweke's leadership the Seahawks have sold out 56 consecutive games and their "12th Man" has become a symbol of fan passion in the NFL. The Sounders FC are in their second season playing in front of sellout crowds and have become the model of professional soccer in America, averaging more than 36,000 fans per game. The Portland Trail Blazers have again become a premier team in the NBA, currently maintaining a sellout streak of 120 consecutive games.
Before joining the Seahawks, Leiweke served as President of the Wild and Chief Operating Officer of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. Under Leiweke's leadership, the Sports Fans of America Association, Inc. awarded its 2003 NHL Sports Fan's Quality Award to the Wild as the league's "Fan Friendliest" team. In an ESPN survey conducted in 2003, the team ranked number one for stadium experience and number two for fan relationships among 123 national sports franchises. The Wild played to sellouts for every game in each of its first four seasons and that sellout streak continues today.