A Tampa streetcar station will be named for the Tampa Tribune. It will cost $125,000 in free ads.
By DAVID KARP, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 25, 2002
TAMPA -- When Tampa's new electric streetcar line opens next month, one of the 11 stations will carry the name of the Tampa Tribune.
But the Tribune's trolley station won't be at just any stop.
It will be a block from the newly named St. Pete Times Forum.
For the right to name the station near the former Ice Palace, the Tribune will give the streetcar operators $125,000 in free advertising. No money will change hands.
If the City Council approves the deal Thursday as expected, a rider will be able to hop on a streetcar at Centro Ybor (which has a marketing deal with the Times), ride to the Tribune's trolley station, and then attend a concert at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"I am trying to sell the Convention Center. You got any buyers?" City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda joked Tuesday. "Evidently, there is more money in newspapers than I thought there was."
Besides getting its name on the station, the Tribune also will get the right to hold one event at the station per year.
Tribune executives also will be asked to serve on an advisory committee of the streetcar system board.
Tribune publisher and president Steven Weaver said the deal won't stop the newspaper from vigorously reporting on the $53.8-million streetcar system.
Weaver has criticized the Times for buying the naming rights to the arena where the Tampa Bay Lightning play.
Weaver said naming a trolley station isn't the same as naming a major hockey arena and concert venue.
"It is nothing comparable," he said.
Times marketing director Ed. Cassidy said he considered buying naming rights to one of the streetcar's 11 stations.
"It didn't really match our marketing and branding efforts," he said.