USF, Vinik in new sports deal

- USF would like some of the electricity created by the Lighting at Amalie Arena. A company controlled by Lighting owner Jeff Vinik will try to replicate the success.

Monday, USF announced a deal with Vinik's Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties for exclusive marketing of USF teams, including the right to sell naming rights to the USF Sun Dome.

TBEP will pay USF $29 million over the next 10 years.

"You know, Mr. Vinik is the gold standard in this town and we're honored to be with him and his team," said USF athletic director Mark Harlan. "We're looking forward to working with that group as we bring them into Raymond James Stadium and the Sun Dome moving forward, so it's going to be great for our fans as well."

Although TBEP is separate from Vinik's company that owns the Lightning, it's expected to put an emphasis on the kind of  fan experience created by the Lighting.

The franchise was named number 1 in ESPN's Ultimate Sports Standings in 2016.

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