Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC, a company controlled by Jeff Vinik, closed on its purchase of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the club announced today. The purchase also includes the lease to the St. Pete Times Forum and ownership of adjacent real estate. Vinik is the Chairman of the Lightning and the club’s Governor on the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors.
The acquisition of the team was approved unanimously by the NHL Board of Governors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“The Lightning is a great franchise in a terrific community,” said Vinik who signed a purchase agreement to buy the team on February 4, 2010. “We thank Oren Koules and his partners for beginning the turn-around of the Lightning hockey club. Our goal now is to build a world-class organization, on and off the ice. ”
Vinik, 50, is the founder and chairman of Vinik Asset Management and a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox. Prior to forming Vinik Asset Management, he managed Fidelity’s Magellan Fund, at that time the world’s largest equities mutual fund. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Economics, Vinik went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School.
The lifelong hockey fan was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Boston with his wife Penny and their four children, Danny (19), Jared (17), Kyra (16) and Joshua (9).
The Lightning was founded in 1990 by Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito and began play in the NHL in 1992. It won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Previous owners of the Lightning include Kokusai Green, Ltd (1992-1998), Art Williams (1998-99), Palace Sports & Entertainment (1999-2008) and Lightning Enterprises LP (2008-2010).
The team currently has 20 games remaining in the 2009-10 regular season and it sits in 11th position in Eastern Conference, just two points removed from a playoff position.