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Lightning arena getting new name

The St. Pete Times Forum, home of the NHL's Lightning, will be renamed the Tampa Bay Times Forum at the start of 2012.

Tuesday's announcement comes on the same day that the St. Petersburg Times -- the newspaper which has had naming rights to the arena since 2002 -- announced it will be known as the Tampa Bay Times starting January 1.

Additionally, the owners of the team and newspaper jointly announced that the naming rights contract between the two has been extended through August 31, 2018.

"The St. Petersburg Times has evolved into being a regional newspaper," said Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Lightning and the Times Forum, in a statement. "As its management makes the significant step of changing the name on the masthead to represent that progression, we are pleased to announce the Times has elected to extend the naming rights to the arena."

The arena was originally known as the Ice Palace when it opened in October 1996.

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