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Lightning, Tampa International Airport join forces to strike new deal

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

Officials employed by Tampa International Airport no longer need to rely on radar to detect the presence of lightning on the facility grounds.

Executives from both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa International Airport announced at a press conference on Monday that the two organizations have entered into an official partnership that mutually reflects the aggressiveness of the airport to market its services and the commitment new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has made to community involvement.

“We’ve always admired Tampa International Airport as one of the greatest in the nation,” Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke said. “This is a fantastic partnership that directly exemplifies Jeff Vinik’s premise that when great institutions work together, great things happen.”

Highlighting the new initiative is a wide variety of Lightning marketing aspects displayed prevalently throughout the airport across a number of distinct platforms.

For example, each individual who parks their vehicle in one of the airport’s four garages will earn the chance to win four free tickets to a Lightning home game of their choice. One lucky winner will be selected daily as they exit the airport through the end of the hockey season.

The very first winner, Paul Vlna of Wesley Chapel, received a voucher to score his complimentary tickets this afternoon as he was leaving the airport after returning from a wedding in Ohio.

“I was absolutely stunned,” Vlna said. “I think this is a great idea though, and I couldn’t be more excited to go to the game.”
Thunderbug and the Lightning Girls were also in attendance at the event and presented Vlna not only with his ticket voucher, but an official team jersey.

Among the other signage throughout the airport is a wrap of the airport’s terminal shuttle featuring the slogans “Go Bolts” and “Be The Thunder.” In addition to its aesthetic value, the wrap also claims a mark of distinction as being the very first Tampa International Airport shuttle to be wrapped with a professional Bay Area sports team’s logo.  Just as well, the voice of Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier is also set to greet passengers on the Airside A tram as they head to and from the main terminal.

After finding a correlation between the high number of out-of-town guests who attend Lightning hockey games and the impact those individuals have on Florida’s booming tourism industry, the idea to join forces was a no-brainer.

“We feel that today we joined up with the Lightning to create one of the most exciting partnership deals in a long time,” Tampa International Airpot CEO Joe Lopano said. “This is great for the team, great for the airport, and serves as a total win-win partnership. This is what teamwork is all about.”

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