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Lightning hire Sports and Entertainment Veteran Robert Canton

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Robert Canton to the position of executive vice president of finance and strategic planning today, Chief Executive Officer Tod Leiweke announced. Canton, who joins the Lightning from PricewaterhouseCoopers in Tampa, will oversee financial operations external development, and strategic planning, while managing city and county governmental relations for the franchise. He will join the organization in September.

"We are flattered that Rob has elected to join the Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment team," Leiweke said. "His wealth of national and international experience in sports and entertainment combined with his knowledge of the Tampa Bay market and the local landscape will assist us as we look to grow the business outside the walls of the Tampa Bay Times Forum."

Canton has 25 years of experience conducting strategic and economic analyses in the sports and tourism sectors, including 22 years with PwC. He has worked with hundreds of teams and destinations both domestically and internationally, participating in a wide variety of projects including transactions, performance improvement, project feasibility and strategic planning. His past clients include MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS teams, as well as several major collegiate athletic programs. Canton led sports and tourism projects in the cities of Denver, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and New York City, as well as state and federal projects for Virginia, Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas, Puerto Rico, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Mexican Ministry of Tourism.

A 24-year resident of Tampa, Canton has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Tampa's Sports Management Program and is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences. He has served on the board of directors for several local and national organizations including Tampa Bay & Company, Tampa Bay Business for Culture and the Arts, the Destination and Travel Foundation, Destination Marketing Association International, and is on the Board of Advisors of the University of New Haven Sports Program. He is also a member Urban Land Institute and has served on ULI Advisory Panels in Denver and Miami.

Canton has contributed to a number of books including "Handbook of Business Valuation and Intellectual Property Analysis," "Sports, Convention and Entertainment Facilities," and "Convention Centers, Stadiums and Arenas." He also served as the editor of PwC's Convention Center Annual Report, Amphitheater Annual Report, Stadium & Arena Managers Annual Report, and for the Sports and Theme Park chapters of the firm's Global Entertainment & Media Outlook.

Canton earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa. He received a Masters of Tourism Administration with a concentration in sustainable destination management and focus in sports management from the George Washington University.

Canton effectively replaces Chief Financial Officer Martha Fuller, who resigned this summer for family reasons. Fuller had been with the organization since November 8, 2010.

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