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Tampa Bay Lightning Introduces Lakewood Ranch As Its Exclusive Residential Real Estate Development Partner

Monday, January 28, 2013

Unique Partnership Joins the 8th Top-Selling, Master-Planned Community in the United States with Emerging National Hockey League Franchise.  LWR Communities has become the exclusive residential real estate development partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Times Forum, Chief Executive Officer Tod Leiweke announced today. Leiweke made the announcement in a press conference held at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club and attended by the team’s Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman. The multi-year agreement between the two entities creates a unique partnership that will enable the Lightning to grow its regional footprint into one of America’s fastest growing communities while Lakewood Ranch secures the opportunity to utilize the team’s reach into key northern markets to grow its residential and commercial real estate businesses.

“As we increase our focus on becoming a regional sports and entertainment franchise, we are pleased to announce that Lakewood Ranch is joining our family,” said Leiweke. “Having a world class commercial and residential development in one of our key target growth communities will allow us to better support existing fans in the area and touch new fans as we grow the Lightning brand.”

As the Exclusive Residential Real Estate Development Partner of the Lightning, Lakewood Ranch will receive extensive brand exposure in the Tampa Bay Times Forum for Lightning home games including dasherboard and all-inclusive LED signage and the title sponsorship to an in-game feature celebrating all that is good in and around the Tampa Bay and Lakewood Ranch communities. The Ranch will also serve as presenting sponsor for two Tampa Bay Lightning games each season, deriving additional benefits therein.

“Some may view this partnership with the Lightning as a little ‘out of the box,’ but the community-first culture that Jeff Vinik, Tod Leiweke and Steve Yzerman are fostering with the Lightning perfectly aligns with those driving our organization,” said Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (developers of the Lakewood Ranch community). “We are confident the Lightning will enable us to further our economic development efforts while we plant the Lakewood Ranch flag in important business recruitment markets.”

Lakewood Ranch will have the opportunity to host a Lightning and National Hockey League Alumni Golf Tournament at one of the Ranch’s exclusive 18-hole golf courses over the next two years, benefitting a mutually agreed upon charity in the region and the organizations are committed to enhancing one another’s charitable outreach programs.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Lightning,” said Brian Kennelly, president of LWR Commercial. “The Lightning brand will open doors that were closed, helping introduce the Ranch to the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada as a premier destination for people to work and play.”

About Lakewood Ranch:
Lakewood Ranch is the 17,500-acre award winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. Just minutes from the Gulf Coast beaches, and cultural assets in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch is already home to more than 15,000 residents and features A-rated schools, a hospital, the Sarasota Polo Club, The Premier Sports Campus, a 75-acre sports complex; its own Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining, and four million square feet of commercial property. For more information visit www.lakewoodranch.com.

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About the Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Tampa Bay Lightning, celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season in 2012-13, was founded by Hockey Hall-of Famer Phil Esposito in 1990, playing its first games in the National Hockey League in 1992-93. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and it was purchased by Jeff Vinik in March, 2010. Over the past two years, Vinik has used a community-first approach while placing an emphasis on creating world class experiences for Lightning fans and event guests to completely transform the franchise and the Tampa Times Forum, the arena in which the Lightning plays its games. He has committed more than $10 million to Tampa Bay area charities and spent nearly $50 million to refurbish the Times Forum, a publicly-owned 19,204 seat arena.


Bill Wickett (813.301.6875, bwickett@tampabaytimesforum.com)
Lisa Barnott (941.757.1542, lisa.barnott@lakewoodranch.com)

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Locating Lakewood Ranch
Lakewood Ranch is located on Florida's West Coast in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Exits 213,217 and 220 all provide access from Interstate 75 (I-75). Lakewood Ranch is quick and easy to reach from any number of major airports including those in Sarasota/Bradenton, Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Myers and Naples. The Sarasota area also offers three general aviation operators that rent, charter, maintain and fuel private aircraft

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