Image Building or a Forum for Arrogance?

To anyone familiar with the competition between the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune over the last decade and a half, news of the “St. Pete Times Forum” is no shock. No more than public-records hypocrisy.

When the Times secured the naming rights to the Ice Palace, it was a logical, if arrogant, extension of its modus operandi . It’s known for its aggressive marketing, such as sponsorship arrangements with Centro Ybor and International Plaza, as well as its penchant for putting it to the Trib .

Ever since the gentlemen’s no-poaching agreement was discarded in the late ’80s, the Times has cherry picked Trib staffers, often outhustled the competition on metro stories, added the CityTimes and planted its flag in downtown Tampa with the high-profile Times building.

Now the Times name will perforce show up in copy of Trib coverage of events, such as Lightning games and concerts, at the erstwhile Ice Palace. Call it the House of Chutzpah — and a lot worse. But call it hardball marketing — and tough to take for the Trib — and any number of downtown Tampa interests.

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