Tampa Bay Lightning: A Fan's Perspective Regarding Arena Renovations

Lauren BurgContributor IFebruary 2, 2011

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 12:  Fans arrive at the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 12, 2009 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The St. Pete Times Forum, home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and numerous other sporting and entertainment events, is finally getting a much-needed renovation.

This renovation will cost $35 million and should be ready within the next 12 months.

Outside, the new arena will feature a new 11,000-square-foot party deck/bar, while inside, on the concourse, the concessions, suites and terrace level will be upgraded, according to a video detailing the new plans on lightning.nhl.com. The terrace level upgrade will include an area where fans can gather on game nights.

Inside the arena itself, lightning will strike after every Lightning goal, according to the same video on lightning.nhl.com.

I think this is a really good move by owner Jeff Vinik, CEO Tod Leiweke and everyone involved. Vinik vowed the Lightning would become a world-class organization and this renovation, along with most of his other announcements this week, prove he hasn't disappointed.

The Forum needs a major upgrade and, thankfully, it will receive that upgrade. This renovation will make OUR Forum look similar to arenas that have been around for years, such as Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

It's also important to note that as the team gets better and becomes a contender once again, it only makes sense that the arena and everything that represents the team gets better, also.

Finally, it must be stated that the Forum upgrades will benefit everyone, not just Lightning fans. Yes, it's true that the Lightning are funding all of this, but that doesn't mean Lightning fans are the only benefactors.

Thank you, Mr. Vinik, for helping to make the Tampa Bay area and the Lightning better!