This piece is going to be a bit opinion, a bit business as well. It all stems from the news that was released this morning that the St. Petersburg Times, and with it the St. Pete Times Forum, will be changing into the Tampa Bay Times on January 1st, 2012.
A name change of a newspaper isn't a common thing, I do not think, while name changes for sporting venues has become all too common in this age. Very rarely do you see venues not named for a corporate sponsor. So the change of the Forum into the Tampa Bay Times Forum is more of the same - just a modification of what was already there.
From the press release from the team:
"Our good name is our most important asset," said Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash. "As we take up our new name, we are delighted to raise it above the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Jeff Vinik, Tod Leiweke and their team at the Tampa Bay Lightning have proven themselves to be excellent partners who share our values and our vision for the Tampa Bay region."
The naming rights partnership, enacted September 2002, was extended to August 31th, 2018.
The arena name can change, but my nickname for the place stays the same. This is Times Palace; a hybrid of the original name for the venue (Ice Palace) and the corporately sponsored name. It's short, and it's catchy... Though a degree pretentious.
At the very least, this may stop the confusion that people have with a venue, named for St. Petersburg, being located in downtown Tampa.