Jeff Vinik, the owner of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, is expanding his company’s sports and entertainment portfolio with the creation of a new parent company, Vinik Sports Group.
VSG, which replaces its predecessor Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, will continue to run the Lightning and serve as the lease-holding entity for Amalie Arena, but also become the umbrella brand for three new business verticals: VSG Commercial Sales, VSG Facilities, and VSG Live. They will look to assist other companies with facility management, live event creation and execution, partnership development, and ticket sales.
VSG Facilities will manage sports and entertainment venues, as well as provide guest services. It already operates the Lightning’s Amalie Arena, the Yuengling Center on the campus at the University of South Florida, and at the recently opened Embarc Collective innovation hub.
VSG Live will book, manage and market concerts and other live events. In addition to managing all events at Amalie Arena and Yuengling Center, VSG Live recently reached an agreement with the Tampa Sports Authority to serve as a ticketing solution for select events at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
VSG Commercial Sales will aim to drive revenue for businesses though ticket sales, consumer marketing, and analytics. In addition to handling all the sales functions (tickets, suites, partnerships) for the Lightning, VSG Commercial Sales oversees multimedia rights for the University of South Florida’s Athletic Department and digital media company The Identity Tampa Bay. It has also assisted in ticket sales functions for WWE’s WrestleMania 36, which is being staged at Raymond James Stadium in April 2020.
Vinik said in a statement: “I am pleased to move our organization forward in this exciting new direction. We have a wonderfully talented leadership team that has worked well with our dedicated staff to transform the Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena and our related businesses. We look forward to sharing our expertise in the industry with others that share our values while they look to grow their businesses and the relationships with those that they serve.”
Last year, the Lightning launched a lifestyle line to accompany their new black and grey alternate jersey. Intended to reach out to a younger demographic, the line includes shirts, hats, drink tumblers, pop sockets, and skateboards.
In October, soft drink giant PepsiCo has signed a long-term partnership with the Lightning.