Eight years has passed since the St. Petersburg Times, Florida’s leading newspaper, bought the naming rights to the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and although iconic at the time, the company’s identity has become nearly as prevalent as their daily reach in newspaper sales as it celebrates a commendable achievement.
On Sunday, October 24, the St. Petersburg Times reached an unprecedented milestone when it sold over a 100,000 copies of its paper’s Tampa Edition, as it crossed the line in terms of circulation in the Tampa Bay metro area. Even more remarkable, as a symbol of its progressive growth, the number had reached 103,000 as recently as November 14 and is expected to enjoy a steady increase.
“This was a great accomplishment,” St. Petersburg Times Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bruce Faulmann said. “Our circulation growth for this season was outstanding, but we are going to continue to progress and grow. It is truly significant.”
The achievement of the St. Petersburg Times Tampa Edition comes off the heels of another inherent accomplishment stemming from subscription sales, in which not just the local issue of the newspaper, but the flagship edition which reaches the entire Tampa Bay metropolitan area including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties, gained the admirable status of Tampa Bay’s favorite newspaper, preferred two-to-one over its competitors.
“It is extremely gratifying for us to see the St. Petersburg Times and our content be truly recognized as Tampa Bay’s favorite newspaper,” Faulmann added. “That, and again, to think that we were only one of three newspapers in the country that were growing as of this month, this is very exciting.”
It is appropriate then the St. Petersburg Times would accomplish such a feat, as its name is displayed in large letters on a building in which excitement resides on a nightly basis.
Since signing the terms of the partnership on September 3, 2002, in which the St. Petersburg Times officially bought the naming rights to what was then called the Ice Palace, a Stanley Cup has been won, a subsequent banner has been raised and a young phenomenon bearing the last name Stamkos scored his historical 50th goal under the roof that now houses two Rocket Richard Trophy winners, a Hall-of-Fame founder and general manager and a perennial All-Star forward with five major trophies under his belt.
So, what’s in a name exactly? A shared identity in a literal sense between the St. Petersburg Times and its namesake in the St. Pete Times Forum, but also a mutually invested relationship marked by countless instances of success that are only sure to continue, such as when the Republican National Committee holds its convention at the arena in 2012.
“To have our name on a building that is that significant and important to the region is absolutely gratifying,” Faulmann said. “It certainly is great to know that with new outstanding ownership, the Lightning’s mission will continue to be in line with what we do, such as putting community first and making an important connection to its residents. It truly is a great partnership.”