SBD/September 20, 2011/Franchises

Lightning Close To Selling 11,000 Season Tickets, More Than Double Last Year's Figure

The Lightning have doubled the number of season tickets sold compared to last year
Lightning officials said that the team is “closing in on selling 11,000 full season tickets, more than double last season's 5,000,” according to Damian Cristodero of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik is “feeling pretty good about the direction of the organization.” Vinik: "We have upward movement on the business side. Obviously, I'm thrilled by that." Vinik also is “becoming more comfortable in his role.” The second-year owner “used to answer questions with talking points.” Now he is “more casual,” and is “interacting more with fans and answers their e-mails.” Vinik said, "I have confidence in this area as a sports market and a hockey market." He added, "I'm very pleased with how the fans are responding. … We just have to have a world-class organization and the plan will be fully realized" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/18).

MUSIC TO MY EARS: In St. Petersburg, John Fleming notes the Lightning this season at St. Pete Times Forum will “take the ice to 'Be the Thunder,' the team’s new theme music played” on a recording by the Florida Orchestra. "Be the Thunder" is “tied into the Lightning's $40 million renovation of the Forum." Lightning CEO & Minority Owner Tod Leiweke said, “The crescendo of this piece of music is going to be these lightning bolts that we're going to shoot in the building, if it all works. There will be coils that shoot bolts of electricity 25 feet each way. How can you be named the Lightning and not have some effect?" Composer Gregory Smith “was commissioned by the Lightning to write the piece, which runs about 21/2 minutes.” Smith said, "When you take a hockey team and have them dance with an orchestra, which this project does, I think it takes it to a real accessible place. I hope to God I see a cellist with a goalie mask somewhere" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/19).
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