St. Petersburg Times to change name in January

November 1, 2011 - 1:05 PM

St. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The St. Petersburg Times, Florida's largest newspaper, will change its name at the beginning of next year to reflect its growth across the Tampa Bay region.

Starting Jan. 1, the newspaper will become the Tampa Bay Times. Chairman and CEO Paul Tash announced the name change Tuesday during a news conference.

He said the newspaper, like the cities and communities it covers, will "have a stronger future as part of a dynamic Tampa Bay region."

It won't be the only name change related to the newspaper. The St. Pete Times Forum — an arena in downtown Tampa — will be renamed the Tampa Bay Times Forum, also as of Jan. 1.

The arena is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the planned location of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

The Tampa Bay Times name is adopted from the newspaper's popular free, daily tabloid, which will continue to be known by its initials -- tbt(asterisk).

Newspaper executives say the name change reflects the reality that the area's two cities, Tampa and St. Petersburg, share a regional identity even if they're divided by Tampa Bay.

Tash said three-quarters of the newspaper's readers live outside St. Petersburg. He said the new name does not signal any change in the newspaper's standards and is not meant to slight the city of St. Petersburg, where the newspaper is based

He said the newspaper, like the cities and communities it covers, will "have a stronger future as part of a dynamic Tampa Bay region."

Tash sits on the board of directors for The Associated Press.

In 2006, the Times settled a dispute with the Tampa Tribune over the Tampa Bay Times name.

According to a story published in the Times, The Tribune sued the Times for trademark infringement in federal court, saying the Times' use of Tampa Bay Times on a free tabloid publication was too similar to "Tampa Times," which is owned by the Tribune.

The Times countersued, claiming that the Tribune had abandoned the name "Tampa Times" for use on a daily newspaper when it stopped publishing an afternoon newspaper by that name in 1982.

The St. Petersburg Times and its corporate parent, Times Publishing Co., settled and got restricted use of the Tampa Bay Times name for five years and unlimited use thereafter.

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Information from: St. Petersburg Times, http://tampabay.com