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SUNSHINE NETWORK CAPTURES LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
Published June 12, 1996
The Sunshine Network and Lightning, entering the final year of their inaugural five-year deal, have extended their deal through 2001-02. Sunshine will carry a minimum of 50 games annually -- including no less than 35 road games -- and has committed to support the team promotionally via ads and PSA's. The network retains rights to Lightning playoff games not otherwise aired by networks and plans to designate a broadcast flagship station to air a select number of games. The Lightning retain responsibility for all marketing, signage and radio rights. Sunshine/Lightning merchandise will also be developed. Actual programming will include: a 30-minute pre-game show; a new kids-oriented series on youth and street hockey; a pre-season special; weekly highlight shows; and off-season replays of select Lightning telecasts (Sunshine Network). Lightning Governor David LeFevre: "This will put us among the elite among NHL teams." The deal puts to rest speculation the team would sign with SportsChannel Florida, recently acquired by Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga. WTOG and WTTA are the leading candidates for a broadcast deal with a decision later this summer (Carter Gaddis, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/12).