Tampa Bay Times Forum
St Pete Times Forum At Sunset
Tampa Bay Times Forum at sunset
Location 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, Florida
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Broke ground April 14, 1994[1]
Opened October 20, 1996
Owner Tampa Sports Authority[2]
Operator Tampa Bay Sports And Entertainment LLC
Construction cost $139 million
($195 million in 2020 dollars[3])
Architect Ellerbe Becket[4]
Structural engineer Walter P Moore[5]
General Contractor Hunt/Morse Diesel[6]
Former names Ice Palace (1996 – August 2002)
St. Pete Times Forum (August 2002 – January 2012)
Tenants Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) (1996–present)
Tampa Bay Storm (AFL) (1997–present)
Republican National Convention (2012)
Capacity Ice hockey: 19,204[7]
Basketball: 20,500
Concert: 21,500
Arena Football: 19,500
Wrestling: 19,000

The Tampa Bay Times Forum is an arena in Tampa, Florida, that has been used for ice hockey, basketball, and arena football games, as well as concerts.

It is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.

In January 2012, the facility was renamed Tampa Bay Times Forum in keeping with the renaming of the St. Petersburg Times, which has the arena's naming rights. The newspaper's naming rights agreement is through August 31, 2018.[8]


The venue, located in Downtown Tampa's Channelside District was a secondary location chosen after the failure of Tampa Coliseum Inc. to secure funding to construct an arena on Tampa Sports Authority land near Tampa Stadium. The government[clarification needed] paid $86 million and the Tampa Bay Lightning paid $53 million for the venue's construction and infrastructure.[9] It opened in 1996 as the Ice Palace. Its first event was a performance by the Royal Hanneford Circus. The first hockey game was the Lightning hosting the New York Rangers, which the Lightning won by a score of 5–2.

The arena was built as a new home for the Lightning, necessary because of the lack of another suitable facility, as both the Bayfront Arena in St. Petersburg and the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds were too small for an NHL team. Prior to the opening of the Ice Palace, the Lightning spent one season at the Expo Hall, and then moved to the Florida Suncoast Dome, which was nicknamed the "Thunderdome," in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1993. The Thunderdome, now Tropicana Field, is currently home to Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays.

Control of the venue has changed hands three times since the building's opening in 1996. The lease agreement ties the arena to the ownership of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Naming rights to the Ice Palace were sold to the then-St. Petersburg Times, a daily newspaper which circulates throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Other entertainment events occasionally held in the Forum include concerts, NBA exhibition games, USF basketball and NCAA Tournament games, tennis, professional wrestling, boxing, figure skating, and rodeos (as well as stand-alone bull riding events; the Forum has hosted an event by the PBR's premier tour, the Bud Light Cup (renamed Built Ford Tough Series in 2003), annually since 1998.)

The Tampa Bay Times Forum was ranked, in 2010, as the 4th busiest arena in the United States.[10]

A $35 million renovation was scheduled to be completed before the 2012 Republican National Convention. The renovation includes a rebuilt grand plaza entrance, elimination of 2 lower-level suites in each corner (8 of current 28 suites) leaving views from the concourse area to the playing area, renovation of each suite, elimination of sections 323 and 324 on the terrace level (574 seats) for a bar and stage area that will feature a new digital theatre organ, more concessions areas on the terrace level, an 11,000-sq ft outdoor deck and party area overlooking outside plaza and facing the downtown skyline, new climate controls that improve both the ice surface and spectator comfort, new lighting, all new padded seats, resurfaced and redecorated concourse, combining Icons and Medallions restaurants into one venue, and updated restrooms.[11]

Also in 2012, the Tampa Bay Times Forum installed a new video display board. The board is billed as the largest of its kind in North America. Its two larger faces measure Template:Convert/2, while its two smaller faces are Template:Convert/2. In comparison, the arena's old display board measured Template:Convert/2 on all sides.[12]

Notable eventsEdit

The building played host to the 1999 NHL All-Star Game, World Wrestling Federation Survivor Series 2000 and games of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament in 2003, 2008 and 2011. The Forum played host to four of the seven games during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, as the Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames four games to three to win their first Stanley Cup. The Forum also hosted ArenaBowl XII (1998) and ArenaBowl XVII (2003) and the 2007 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament.

The Forum hosted the 2008 NCAA Women's Division I Final Four Basketball Tournament on April 6–8. Tennessee beat Stanford, 64–48. In 2009, the Forum hosted the Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.

In 2009, Britney Spears performed at the Forum for her "The Circus Starring Britney Spears" tour. The show is also notable for a wardrobe malfunction and the remark, "Okay, my pussy is hanging out of this fucking --", after she performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" and didn't realize that her mic was still on. The incident later received notable attention and has received thousands of views on YouTube. She returned to the arena two years later for her Femme Fatale Tour.

WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown has been held at the arena numerous times. Raw hosted their three hour 800th episode celebration on November 3, 2008 along with the December 21, 2009 edition where Johnny Damon served as the guest host and the first Raw of 2013 on January 7 featuring the return of The Rock.

Tampa hosted WWE Extreme Rules on May 1, 2011 and it was the arena's first WWE PPV since Survivor Series 2000 in 11 years after they replaced the Amway Center in Orlando, the original location for the event. Following the PPV's conclusion, newly crowned WWE Champion John Cena announced the death of Osama Bin Laden which resulted in a big "USA!" chant and internal public address system of the Forum then proceeded to play "Stars and Stripes Forever".

The arena was slated to host an NBA preseason game in 2010 between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, the league's two Florida teams. However, months before the game, the arena's basketball floor was treated with an oil-based cleaning solution that resulted in a slippery film forming on it. According to Magic players, the floor was so slippery that they had to walk through their shootaround. The game was canceled half an hour before the scheduled tipoff, and fans received a full refund.[13]

In 2012, the Tampa Bay Times Forum played host to the NCAA Hockey Frozen Four championship finals; this was the first time the "Frozen Four" was held outside the northern US since 1999, when the University of Alaska Anchorage hosted the event at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, now the Honda Center, in Anaheim, California. The Frozen Four was hosted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the nearest collegiate hockey team to Florida. Boston College won the National Championship game 4–1 against Ferris State.

On April 21, 2012, The Tampa Bay Times Forum was host to Rammstein on their Made In Germany tour.[14]

The Tampa Bay Times Forum hosted the 2012 Republican National Convention.[15]

The Tampa Bay Times Forum is set to be the home of the Tampa Bay Flames of the Universal Basketball Association.



  1. Zizzo, Mike (April 17, 1994). "Bettman Scores Big With Innovations". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  2. About TSA
  3. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  4. "St Petersburg Times Forum". Ellerbe Becket. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
  5. Walter P Moore – Arenas (archived)
  6. – Tampa Bay Lightning
  7. Cristodero, Damian (October 18, 2011). "Tampa Bay Lightning Owner: No Immediate Plans to Seek Renovation Reimbursement". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  8. Cridlin, Jay (November 1, 2011). "St. Pete Times Forum Changing Name to Tampa Bay Times Forum". Tampa Bay Times (Times Publishing Company). Archived from the original on December 29, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  9. "Appendix 5.4 to Sports Facility Reports, Volume 2, Number 2" (pdf). National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School. 2001. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  10. "The Top 5 Busiest Arenas In America". Is It Packed. November 4, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  11. Cristodero, Damian (February 2, 2011). "Tampa Bay Lightning Announces $35 million in Renovations to the St. Pete Times Forum". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  12. "The Transformation Continues". May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  13. English, Antonya (October 23, 2010). "Tampa Exhibition Between Orlando Magic and Miami Heat Canceled Due to Floor Conditions". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  14. "Ramstein". Tampa Bay Times Forum. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  15. Smith, Adam C. (September 2, 2012). "Winners and Losers of the Republican National Convention in Tampa". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 5, 2013.

External linksEdit

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Events and tenants
Preceded by
Home of the
Tampa Bay Lightning

1996 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Home of the
Tampa Bay Storm

1997 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
General Motors Place
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Air Canada Centre
Preceded by
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Consol Energy Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Template:Music venues of Florida

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