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St. Pete 'Times' Sets New Sponsorship Deal - Mindful of the Staples Center Mess

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

St. Pete 'Times' Sets New Sponsorship Deal - Mindful of the Staples Center Mess

Article excerpt

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times announced a sponsorship pact with a regional entertainment center while emphasizing that it won't compromise the editorial side or involve revenue sharing.

The St. Pete Times was referring indirectly to the widely criticized Los Angeles Times-Staples Center deal, which came to stand for the problems that can occur when a newspaper's news and business sides get too cozy. The L.A. Times last year agreed to share profits from a special Sunday magazine about the Staples Center with the sports arena itself, a decision the paper later admitted was wrong.

In the sort of deal that's become common as newspapers try to better market themselves, the St. Pete Times will pay an undisclosed sum to Tampa's Ice Palace in exchange for advertising privileges at the center.

Ed. Cassidy, the St. Pete Times' marketing director, said the contract contains a clause stating that the paper's editorial content will not be affected by the arrangement.

"It was very clear that Ice Palace management would respect and maintain our position of editorial integrity," he said. "We drew a very definite line between news and promotion. That was something we asked for right from the start."

The sponsorship came about last summer as part of the paper's stepped- up marketing efforts. It represents the paper's biggest marketing push in Hillsborough County, home to its rival, the Tampa Tribune. It was attractive because it lets the paper reach a wide range of people who attend business, sports, and entertainment events hosted by the center. …

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