|St. Pete Times Forum|
|Former names||Ice Palace (1996–2002)|
|Location||401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, Florida, USA 33602|
|Opened||October 20 1996|
|Owner||Oren Koules Hockey LLC.|
|Construction cost||$139 million|
|Capacity||Ice hockey: 19,500|
Arena Football: 19,500
|Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) (1996-present)|
Tampa Bay Storm (Arena Football League) (1997-2008)
Tampa Breeze (Lingerie Football League) (2009-present)
The St. Pete Times Forum is an arena in Tampa, Florida, that is used for hockey games, basketball games, arena football games, and concerts. It is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.
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. It opened in 1996 as the Ice Palace. Its first event was the Lightning hosting the New York Rangers. The Lightning won by a score of 5–2.
The arena was built as a new home for the Lightning after it outgrew the older, smaller Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Prior to the opening of the Ice Palace, the Lightning moved to the Florida Suncoast Dome, which was renamed the "Thunderdome", in St. Petersburg, Florida, joining the Tampa Bay Storm, in 1994. Upon the completion of the Ice Palace, both the Lightning and the Tampa Bay Storm, also a tenant of the Thunderdome, moved in and have made it their home since then. The Thunderdome, now named Tropicana Field, is currently home to Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Devil 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 St. Petersburg Times, a daily newspaper which circulates throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Other entertainment events occasionally held in the Forum include concerts, National Basketball Association exhibition games, University of South Florida Basketball and NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship games, tennis, professional wrestling, boxing, figure skating, and rodeos as well as stand-alone bull riding events.
The building played host to the 1999 NHL All-Star Game. The Forum played host to 4 of the 7 games during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, as the Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames 4 games to 3 to win their first Stanley Cup.
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