SBD/February 1, 2011/Franchises

Lightning Unveil New Logo, Uniforms For '11-12 NHL Season

Special jerseys reserved for season-ticket holders contain a microchip in the sleeve
The Lightning yesterday unveiled a new logo and new home and road uniforms for the '11-12 season in a rebranding effort. The team will continue to wear its current logo and jerseys through the end of the '10-11 season, though the updated logo will immediately have a presence at St. Pete Times Forum. This marks the first time an NHL franchise has been allowed to phase in a new logo during the season. The Lightning also announced an innovation that will take effect with the new sweaters. Special jerseys reserved for season-ticket holders will have a microchip inserted into the sleeve, allowing those fans to be identified at in-arena concession stands and merchandise shops. By scanning the embedded sleeves, the fans will receive a 25% discount on all concessions and a 35% discount on all merchandise at St. Pete Times Forum (THE DAILY). The “highlights of the jersey, which will not immediately be on sale, include the removal of the words ‘Tampa Bay’ from the home blue jersey, the ties at the front of the collar and elimination of the color black, associated with the team from its inception, in favor of a blue-and-white combination to denote water and lightning.” The team will “retain its third jersey” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/1).

BACK IN A FLASH: In St. Petersburg, Jeff Harrington notes the new uniforms, “new logo and some rebranding cost close” to $1M. Add in the jerseys the team is giving away to “thousands of full season ticket holders (at about $150 apiece) along with heavy concession and merchandise discounts at games, and the price tag escalates quickly.” The team today also is expected to announce “a major charitable contribution at Metropolitan Ministries.” The club tomorrow will “reveal more plans for an estimated” $40M renovation to St. Pete Times Forum. Hillsborough County documents indicate that the team “wants to be reimbursed for much of the expense using tourist taxes," but Lightning officials indicate that Owner Jeff Vinik is “prepared to move forward with or without the pledge of financial support.” Harrington writes, “Put the spending spree together -- along with $5 million Vinik & Co. already spent on Forum improvements -- and it looks like a long-term commitment to the Lightning.” Vinik still “won't say how much he'll invest or how long he's willing to wait to turn a profit.” But Lightning CEO & Minority Owner Tod Leiweke said the money spent on the uniform and logos alone "is not for the faint of heart." Leiweke's "yardstick of success is a visual one." He “wants the inside of the Times Forum to look like it did during the Lightning's Stanley Cup championship season” in ’04 (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/1).
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