TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Lightning’s “Room & Boards” project has been in the works for the past seven months, essentially since the team won the Stanley Cup in the bubble in Canada.
“We are in this weird scenario where the fans and the team are not able to be together like normal because of COVID,” said Brittany Austin, the director of creative and brand strategy for Vinik Sports Group, “so one of the things we really tried to think about coming out of winning is how we can continue to find ways to make that connection.”
Austin and the rest of the marketing team for the Lightning selected an unusual scenario to bridge that gap. It actually appeared in a list of suggestions from Dunn&Co., a local advertising agency.
“It was kind of one of those where you are like, ‘Wow! This is a big idea. Can we actually pull it off?’” recalled Austin.
She is referring to the experience that will transform a portion of the arena into a suite for six Tampa Bay Lightning fans on Saturday, April 24. She has only received enthusiastic feedback from the fans.
“People are like, basically, ‘How can I figure this out? Who wants to go in with me?’ so it has been really really positive,” she said. “And, again, I hope that our fans continue to see that we want to find ways to drive that connection in a world that it is not usually there right now.”
Those fans will have the chance to participate in a variety of activities inside the arena including a tour of the facility, an evening skate and an elaborate dinner.
Austin highlighted, arguably, the best part of the entire event.
“They are getting to do it, obviously, with the Stanley Cup,” she said, “which you cannot replace so we are really excited about having a chance to make these memories.”
Austin, who is currently in her 12th season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and in her second year in this position, admitted she has never executed an event like this. However, she is thrilled to be able to bring it to this community.
“It has actually been really fun, really fun to have a collaborative group of people internally working to make this happen,” she said. “We are super excited to host the fan and the Cup and it should be a great experience and all for a good cause.”
Yes, the cost of this “Amalie Arena Airbnb” is $5,000 but it will be donated to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and other initiatives through the Lightning Foundation. The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
“This year, with COVID, it has been hard,” said Austin. “We love to be able to use the power of sports and our platform to give back to the local community and that is the other side of this. Like I mentioned, this is a great experience for the fans but, also, it does some good here in Tampa.”
If you would like to book this exclusive experience, you can do so on Airbnb on Monday, April 19, at noon.