Fleshing out the business, Bolts hire Steve Griggs as COO

Steve Griggs, who had been with the Orlando Magic of the NBA as Executive Vice President of Sales and marketing, has joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as Chief Operating Officer. A press release announced the move this afternoon.

Griggs, who will not be joining the Bolts until November, is the first major executive hire by CEO Tod Leiweke since his own hiring in July. But this isn't the first time they have crossed paths. Leiweke and Griggs had worked together with the Minnesota Wild.

Griggs and Leiweke worked together for three years in Minnesota, helping to establish the Wild as the NHL’s "Fan Friendliest" team in 2003, according to the Sports Fans of America Association, Inc.

It's been tweeted by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that Griggs last day of work with the Magic is October 28th.  The full press release form teh Bolts on the hire (adn some of the marketing that Griggs has been involved with, is below.



Long-Time Sports Executive Joins Tampa Bay from the Orlando Magic

TAMPA BAY - Steve Griggs has been named chief operating officer of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum, Chief Executive Officer Tod Leiweke announced today. Griggs joins the Lightning from the Orlando Magic, where he has served as executive vice president of sales and marketing since October, 2007. He will become the organization’s day-to-day operations leader, with an emphasis on revenue generation and brand management. Griggs will begin with the Lightning in November.

"Steve is one of the rising stars in the sports industry," said Leiweke upon making the announcement. "His experience in the NHL, and most recently, with the NBA's Orlando Magic and the new Amway Center, will serve us well as we work to transform the Lightning and the Times Forum under the leadership of owner Jeff Vinik."

"I welcome Steve to the Lightning and am proud that we have recruited another great leader in the sports industry," said Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik. "I know he will serve our fans and partners at a very high level."

In addition to overseeing all of the Magic’s sales and marketing functions, Griggs was also charged with developing and executing strategic sales and marketing efforts for the team’s new arena (Amway Center), which is set to open this fall. He established the Champions of the Community partnership for the founding partners of the building and created a digital signage platform which makes the arena one of the most technologically advanced in North America.

Additionally, Griggs has been instrumental in growing the Magic season ticket base to over 14,000, with 75 consecutive sellouts, helping earn the team the second overall ranking in ESPN’s Ultimate Standings among 123 major professional sports franchises. He has also guided the Magic’s brand transformation, introducing a new primary logo, and new third jersey while establishing the BeMagic and EnterLegend campaigns.

"I am honored to join the Tampa Bay Lightning organization" said Griggs. "I look forward to being a part of the Tampa Bay community and working with Jeff Vinik, Tod Leiweke and the rest of the Lightning staff in becoming a world class organization while striving to become Stanley Cup Champions again."

Before joining the Magic, Griggs served the previous eight seasons as vice president of sales and marketing for the Minnesota Wild and its parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (MSE). While with the Wild he was responsible for ticket sales and service, corporate sales and service, suite sales and service as well as retail operations. Under his leadership, the club posted 284 consecutive sellouts, totaling more than five million fans in the Wild’s first six seasons.

Griggs and Leiweke worked together for three years in Minnesota, helping to establish the Wild as the NHL’s "Fan Friendliest" team in 2003, according to the Sports Fans of America Association, Inc.

"Steve has a keen understanding of building relationships with fans and corporate partners," said Leiweke. "He knows how to drive sellouts, which is the ultimate goal from our side of the business."

Griggs also has experience with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment where he worked for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. He and his wife Janell have a daughter, Maddie (7), and a son, Jack (5).