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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have entered into a multi-year agreement with Academic Financial Services that will rename the team's private corporate club formerly known as the XO Club the "AFS Club." In addition to the naming rights to the club, the partnership between the Lightning and AFS includes other advertising and signage elements and the opportunity for AFS to host Lightning community events and seminars during Lightning or Tampa Bay Storm games.

"We're thrilled with the opportunity to expand the relationship between the Lightning and Academic Financial Services that began earlier this year," Lightning and St. Pete Times Forum president Ron Campbell said. "In the short time period they've been associated with us, AFS has proven to be a great partner with an exceptional vision toward helping us build our business. The partnership we now have with AFS to brand our private corporate club is a prime example of their commitment to the St. Pete Times Forum, the Lightning and the Tampa Bay area."

"At Academic Financial Services we are committed to the Tampa Bay Area," said Anthony Craft, AFS Vice President of Marketing. "We have strived in the past two years to pursue every possible avenue to reach every potential customer in the area. We have partnered with the Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum in order to increase our efforts in our local market. We look forward to our continued involvement in the community and future growth."

The AFS Club has undergone a wide range of improvements during the summer. The new club features expanded bar space, new food stands, more televisions, new tile and fresh carpeting throughout. Almost 400 seats have been added to the club along with more than 4,000 square feet. These improvements further solidify the AFS Club as the premier client entertainment venue in the Tampa Bay area and the ultimate way to experience exhilarating Lightning hockey and the most entertaining concerts and shows.

Located on two floors of the St. Pete Times Forum and now encompassing approximately 60,000 square feet, the AFS Club currently caters to more than 1,400 members.

Among the amenities provided to club members are:

• An all-inclusive buffet featuring gourmet themed menus and beverages
• Tickets for all Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Storm home games
• VIP parking in the adjacent South Regional Parking Garage
• Guaranteed first opportunity to purchase tickets to St. Pete Times Forum concerts
• Beautifully situated interactive hospitality areas
• Personalized nameplate on theater-style leather seats
•Exclusive Concierge Services
• Private Powder Rooms
• Cigar Bar
• Complimentary tickets to select St. Pete Times Forum events
• Complimentary meeting and party areas

Limited memberships are still available in the newly-expanded club. For information call 813.301.6600.

The mission of Academic Financial Services is to be a leading provider of financial assistance for Student Borrowers and Educational Institutions nationwide. AFS is committed to simplifying the student loan process, through innovative technology and individualized customer service. AFS is dedicated to educate, facilitate, and support all participants in the student loan industry.

Established on January 26, 2003, Academic Financial Services AFS acquired its Title IV lender code (#834179) in December 2004, and began issuing and holding loans under that code in February 2005. AFS participates in the Federal Family Educational Loan Program (FFELP). It offers Stafford Loans, Parent PLUS loans, Grad PLUS loans, as well as consolidation loans. AFS' alternative educational loan is called the Green Light Loan, which is a very competitive private loan. AFS also offers the Greenhorn Scholarship, in which students are eligible to enter a random raffle drawing through the AFS website. At the end of each month, one student is awarded $500.00 through a random drawing of entries for that month.

During the past two years, AFS has experienced high levels of growth and has formed relationships with many schools nationwide and continue to create new partnerships. While most of the growth and revenues come from out of state partners and borrowers, AFS feels that there is no community more important than its own. For this reason, AFS has continued investing heavily in Hillsborough County, through hiring local workers, expanding and keeping an office in Tampa, as well as donating money to local high schools to help students move on to college.
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