Friday, January 14, 2011

Just seven months after the Tampa Bay Storm set an Arena Football League record with their eighth ArenaBowl appearance, TBSE Football, LLC, a subsidiary of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC, announced the purchase today of the Tampa Bay Storm. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

TBSE Football, LLC, led by Jeff Vinik, purchased the franchise from Tampa Bay Storm Partners, LLC, whose Chief Executive Officer is Todd Boren. Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC also purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning (National Hockey League), the leasehold right to the St. Pete Times Forum and ownership of adjacent real estate on March 3, 2010.

"As our business in Tampa Bay evolves and we deepen our commitment to the community, we believe it makes sense to bring the Storm under the Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment umbrella," said Vinik upon making the announcement. "The team is an asset for Tampa Bay and its sports fans and we want to ensure its stability and position in the Arena Football League for the good of our community. At TBSE, we look forward to even more significant announcements in the future, further illustrating our intentions for Tampa Bay."

Under the new ownership, Tim Marcum will remain as the team's Head Coach and General Manager. Elmer Straub, Vice President of Event Booking for the St. Pete Times Forum, will serve on the Board of Directors for all Arena Football League matters.

"It's an honor to partner with an organization that has such a celebrated legacy such as the Tampa Bay Lightning," AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz added. "We are truly excited to add Jeff Vinik and Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment to the Arena Football League today. Mr. Vinik brings a long-time passion for the sports and entertainment industry to the AFL and it is tremendous to welcome a group with football expertise brought by Tod Leiweke, having previously served as the CEO of the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks."

Vinik, 51, is the Governor and Chairman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as founder and chairman of Vinik Asset Management and a minority owner of Fenway Sports Group, parent company of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Mr. Vinik to the Tampa Bay Storm family as he joins us in our quest for a sixth World Championship," Marcum said. "Under his leadership, I am confident the team will be able to develop and sustain a high degree of stability, while consistently providing our fans with an excellent and exciting product on the field."

The Tampa Bay Storm will kickoff the 2011 season on Friday, March 11, 2011 against the New Orleans VooDoo in New Orleans.

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