SUNSHINE NETWORK CAPTURES LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
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).