Tampa Bay Lightning surprises season ticket holders with a jersey that keeps giving

by Stan Phelps

in Added Service, purple goldfish project

A Little Something Extra…For the Fans and the Community

Guest post by Lee Silverstein of Tampa Bay Job Coach:

Not long after experiencing the joy of winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and their fans, experienced the frustration of a new ownership group that spent more time fighting amongst themselves then running the team.

That all changed when in February 2010, a new ownership group, led by billionaire hedge-fund manager, Jeff Vinik purchased the team. Vinik vowed to build both a winning team, and a winning fan experience; he has definitely put his money where his mouth is.

Over the summer the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Lightning, underwent a $40m renovation, funded entirely by Vinik. Now almost completed, the renovation included:

  • All new cushioned seats with cup-holders
  • Remodeled luxury boxes
  • An outdoor party deck that overlooks the city
  • Tesla coils that shoot real “lightning” when the team scores.

The two biggest changes to the fan experience; however, was the addition of the world’s biggest digital theater organ and a new program that rewards season-ticket holders.

Located on the third level of the Forum, the Lightning removed about 500 seats (and the revenue associated with those seats) for the organ. The instrument sits on a raised platform called the organ loft and is surrounded by a bar.

The Lightning’s new program for their season ticket-holders is the first of its kind in professional sports. All full season ticket holders received a home game jersey with their respective season ticket commitments.

tampa bag lightning STH jerseyIn addition to the sweater’s distinct look, a microchip is inserted in the sleeve, thereby allowing season ticket holders to be identified at concession stands and merchandise shops throughout the St. Pete Times Forum. By scanning these embedded sleeves, fans receive a 25% discount on all concessions in the arena and a 35% discount on all merchandise purchased at the Times Forum during Lightning games.

To me, the biggest “Lagniappe” of all came when it was announced that Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny will be donating more than $10 million through the Lightning Foundation to deserving community heroes and charity partners in Tampa Bay over the next five years. During each and every home game (41 games!), the Lightning Foundation will select and honor a Community Hero.  Their heroic efforts will be celebrated by making a $50,000 contribution to an eligible 501(c)(3) organization that represents that Hero’s cause.

Oh, and did I mention that the $40m that Vinik put in to the Forum came with no assistance from the county. The county; however, owns the forum; not Vinik.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s the first time they used the Tesla coils. They fire up at the end of this one minute video:

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness like the Tampa Bay Lightning? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras like the STH jersey?

What’s Your Purple Goldfish?

Download the FREE eBook here

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rick Canale March 11, 2012 at 7:22 am

This may be one of the best marketing ideas I have ever seen. Not sure why every team college and pro does not adopt this program.
Rewards loyalty, markets to the existing client, and sends a visual message.

2 Stan Phelps March 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

Totally agree Rick. Focused on your best customers with 0% waste. Should be a no-brainer, but most teams concentrate on the two in the bush . . . instead of the one in hand.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv Enabled

Previous post: Bridgeton House Bed & Breakfast takes care of returning guests

Next post: Los Cabos chips into the Purple Goldfish Project at #87