2nd Annual Hall of Fame Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning

AMA Tampa Bay will honor the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Award during the Marketer of the Year ceremony on March 2nd. This award acknowledges a commitment to excellence as a local brand in Tampa Bay. Eric Blankenship, VP of Marketing, will accept the award at the event.

Blankenship recently said “we are humbled and very grateful for this award. This recognition would not be possible without the vision of our owner, Mr. Vinik, the leadership from our CEO, Steve Griggs, the dedication from our executive team, the relentless efforts of our staff and the passionate support of our community and fans. It is an honor and a privilege to accept this award on behalf of everyone that has and continues to elevate the Lightning brand.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning is very intentional about building and strengthening a brand that is authentic, relevant, and exciting. The brand started its transformation in 2010 when Jeff Vinik purchased the team. During his ownership tenure, Vinik has invested nearly $100 million to build one of the top arenas and game presentation experiences in sports for Lightning hockey fans. This includes bringing in dedicated leadership, quality players, a state-of-the art scoreboard, the world’s most powerful digital pipe organ, live lightning strikes, fan amenities throughout the arena, and much more. The investments are working well to create an exciting fan experience and nearly 100 straight games have sold out.

According to this ESPN article, the Lightning rank first of 122 teams in the 2016 Ultimate Sports Standings, an in-depth look at the way organizations treat their fans. The article goes on to say the Bolts  are rated best for showing appreciation to fans and that Amalie Arena is the most fan-friendly venue in the NHL.

“Fans play a vital role in building our brand” said Blankenship in a recent interview. When fans experience the excitement of Lightning hockey, they also want to share it with others. The Lightning’s Bring the Thunder program encourages fans to nominate someone that has never been to a Lightning game for a chance to win the VIP hockey experience. The team’s Build the Thunder program is investing more than $6 million over the next five years to teach young people in Tampa Bay about the game of hockey.

The excitement continues outside of the arena with an extraordinary focus on the community. There are numerous ways they give back in the community in very authentic ways, such as:

  • Hospital visits by the players, most recently at Tampa General
  • Student mentorships, such as this story with J.T. Brown
  • The Community Heroes program has donated millions of dollars to local charities and honors those who have made a difference in the community
  • Lightning employees contributing nearly 5,000 hours of volunteer service annually through its CHARGE program

Tampa Bay Lightning Photo/Scott Audette

AMA Tampa Bay is proud to honor the Tampa Bay Lightning for their brand success. The Marketer of the Year awards ceremony will be a formal evening event on March 2nd. AMA Tampa Bay will recognize and honor the very best marketers (brands and agencies) for their work, excellence and success in multiple categories, as well as an overall winner, the prestigious Grand Marketer of the Year.

Marketer of the Year applications must be received by January 13, 2017.

To learn more about the 2nd annual Marketer of the Year Awards and Banquet, visit our Marketer of the Year website.

Sponsorships are available for Marketer of the Year. For details contact Brenda McGowan.


Article by Alison Clinton

Alison has enjoyed a variety of marketing roles over the past 20 years, currently Sr. Marketing Manager with Charter Communications. Alison also owns Champ Boosters Savings Book, a new company that supports education and youth sports in Tampa.