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Amalie Arena is an arena in Tampa, Florida, that has been used for ice hockey, basketball, arena football games, and concerts. It is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and is the temporary home of the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The building was originally known as the Ice Palace. In August 2002, the building's naming rights were sold to the ''St. Petersburg Times'', which became the ''Tampa Bay Times'' in January 2012; accordingly, the arena was known as the St. Pete Times Forum (2002–2012) and Tampa Bay Times Forum (2012–2014). In September 2014, the arena was renamed Amalie Arena when the naming rights were transferred to Amalie Oil Company.

History

The venue, located in Downtown Tampa's Channelside District, was a secondary location chosen after the failure of Tampa Coliseum Inc. to secure funding to construct an arena on Tampa Sports Authority land near Tampa Stadium. The city of Tampa paid $86 million and the Tampa Bay Lightning paid $53 million for the venue's construction and infrastructure. It opened in 1996 as the Ice Palace. Its first event was a performance by the Royal Hanneford Circus. The first hockey game was the Lightning hosting the New York Rangers, which the Lightning won 5–2. The arena, built as a new home for the Lightning, was necessary because of the lack of a major league-sized arena in the Tampa Bay Area. The two existing arenas in the region, Bayfront Arena in St. Petersburg and the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds, were too small for an NHL team. Prior to the opening of the Ice Palace, the Lightning spent one season at the Expo Hall, and then moved to the Florida Suncoast Dome, which was nicknamed the "Thunderdome", in St. Petersburg in 1993. The Thunderdome, now Tropicana Field, is currently home to Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. The arena is owned by Hillsborough County and leased to the Tampa Sports Authority. The authority leases the arena back to the Lightning, who operate it. The current lease agreement ties the arena to the Lightning ownership. Naming rights to the arena were sold to the then ''St. Petersburg Times'', a daily newspaper which circulates throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Other entertainment events occasionally held in the Forum include concerts, NBA exhibition games, USF basketball and NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament games, Frozen Four games, tennis, professional wrestling, boxing, figure skating, and rodeos (as well as stand-alone bull riding events; the Forum has hosted an event by the PBR's premier tour, the Bud Light Cup enamed_[[Built_Ford_Tough_Series_in_2003.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Built Ford Tough Series">enamed [[Built Ford Tough Series in 2003">Built Ford Tough Series">enamed [[Built Ford Tough Series in 2003 annually since 1998). In 2010, the Tampa Bay Times Forum was ranked as the fourth busiest arena in the United States. A $35 million renovation was scheduled to be completed before the [[2012 Republican National Convention. The renovation included a rebuilt grand plaza entrance, elimination of 2 lower-level suites in each corner (8 of current 28 suites) leaving views from the concourse area to the playing area, renovation of each suite, elimination of sections 323 and 324 on the terrace level (574 seats) for a bar and stage area that will feature a new digital theatre organ, more concessions areas on the terrace level, an outdoor deck and party area overlooking outside plaza and facing the downtown skyline, new climate controls that improve both the ice surface and spectator comfort, new lighting, all new padded seats, resurfaced and redecorated concourse, combining Icons and Medallions restaurants into one venue, and updated restrooms. Also in 2012, the Tampa Bay Times Forum installed a new video display board. The board is billed as the largest of its kind in North America. Its two larger faces measure , while its two smaller faces are . In comparison, the arena's old display board measured on all sides. On September 3, 2014, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik announced the renaming of the Forum to Amalie Arena after coming to an agreement with Amalie Oil Company, an oil company based in Tampa. For the 2020–21 NBA season, the Toronto Raptors will play their home games in Amalie Arena due to travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Events

As home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena has hosted games in the Stanley Cup Finals, hosting games one, two, five, and seven of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, where the Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames four games to three to win their first Stanley Cup. During the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, the arena was the site of games one, two, and five. It did not host the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals as all games were held behind closed doors at Edmonton's Rogers Place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the eventual champion Lightning (who defeated the Dallas Stars in six games) did hold watch parties outside the arena for select season ticket holders. In addition, Amalie Arena has hosted the National Hockey League All-Star Game twice, in 1999 and again in 2018. In college basketball, the arena is a regular host for games in both the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament and NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament. The arena has hosted first and second-round games for the men's tournament in 2003, 2008, and 2011 (it was scheduled to host games again in 2020, only to have the tournament cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). In the women's tournament, Amalie Arena has hosted the Final Four of the 2008, 2015, and 2019 tournaments. The arena has also hosted conference tournaments, hosting the 2007 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament and the 2009 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, and is scheduled to again host the SEC Tournament in 2022. The arena was also the main home of the South Florida Bulls men's basketball team for their 2011–12 season while the USF Sun Dome underwent extensive renovations. During the arena's time as home of the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, it hosted the league's championship game, known as the ArenaBowl, on two occasions, ArenaBowl XII in 1998 and ArenaBowl XVII in 2003. The arena was slated to host an NBA preseason game in 2010 between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, the league's two Florida teams. However, months before the game, the arena's basketball floor was treated with an oil-based cleaning solution that resulted in a slippery film forming on it. According to Magic players, the floor was so slippery that they had to walk through their shootaround. When it became apparent that there was no way to make the court playable, the game was canceled half an hour before the scheduled tipoff. All fans received a full refund. Due to the coronavirus pandemic restricting travel between Canada and the United States, the Toronto Raptors will begin the 2020–21 NBA season at Amalie. The Frozen Four of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament was held in the arena, hosted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the nearest collegiate hockey team to Florida. This was the first time the Frozen Four was held outside the northern US since 1999, when the University of Alaska Anchorage hosted the event at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. Boston College won the national championship game 4–1 against Ferris State. Four years later, Amalie Arena again hosted the Frozen Four of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. Marvel Universe Live! kicked off its national tour at Amalie Arena on July 10, 2014. The arena hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions in 2016. UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans was held at the arena. It has also held the World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view event Survivor Series (2000). James Taylor has performed at Amalie Arena for several years. In 2010 he performed with Carole King during the 2010 Troubadour World Reunion Tour and he has also performed with his band at Amalie Arena.

Gallery

File:St Pete Times Forum At Sunset.jpg |St. Pete Times Forum in 2004 File:StPeteTimesForum.jpg|Exterior view in 2005 with old St. Pete Times Forum signage. File:St. Pete Times Forum interior.jpg|Inside the St Pete Times Forum, April 8, 2006. File:St. Pete Times Forum interior 2007.jpg|St Pete Times Forum interior from near ice level in 2007. File:Amalie Arena Football.jpg|Interior from concourse level during a Tampa Bay Storm game in 2017. File:Tampa Bay Lightning Game 6 Watch Party (18219067034) (cropped).jpg|Watch party outside the entrance to the arena during the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals

See also

*Downtown Tampa *List of indoor arenas in the United States *Scotiabank Arena (permanent home of the Toronto Raptors)

References



External links

* {{Music venues of Florida Category:1996 establishments in Florida Category:Arena football venues Category:Basketball venues in Florida Category:College ice hockey venues in the United States Category:Gymnastics venues in the United States Category:Indoor arenas in Florida Category:Indoor ice hockey venues in Florida Category:Legends Football League venues Category:Mixed martial arts venues in Florida Category:Music of Tampa, Florida Category:Music venues completed in 1996 Category:Music venues in Florida Category:National Basketball Association venues Category:National Hockey League venues Category:Professional wrestling venues in Florida Category:Sports venues completed in 1996 Category:Sports venues in Tampa, Florida Category:Tampa Bay Lightning arenas Category:Toronto Raptors venues Category:Former South Florida Bulls sports venues