Chief Executive Officer
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steve Griggs is entering his sixth season as chief executive officer of Vinik Sports Group after being named to the position on July 24, 2015. Prior to being tabbed as CEO, he spent one year as team president and four as chief operating officer. Griggs first joined the organization as COO on August 31, 2010. He oversees all of the organization’s business operations, including all concerts and events held at AMALIE Arena. In 2020 he became a Stanley Cup champion and his name is engraved on the Stanley Cup.
In 2020, Griggs spearheaded the creation of the Vinik Sports Group, which serves as the parent company for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the lease holding entity for AMALIE Arena and other sports and entertainment assets, while becoming the umbrella brand for three new business verticals: VSG Commercial Sales, VSG Facilities and VSG Live. He also oversaw the introduction of the Lightning and AMALIE Arena’s new Cur(ate) TPA initiative, bringing to life a focus to deliver fans and arena guests the very best in fresh, local food and beverage options, while also concentrating on variety, value, service and sustainability. Under the Cur(ate) TPA umbrella, Griggs oversaw the design and opening of the new Cigar City Brewing Taproom on Ford Thunder Alley. The new Cigar City Brewing Taproom opened during the 2019-20 season and represented new food and beverage options for AMALIE Arena guests for event and select non-event days. Griggs continues to play a significant role in the vast improvements being made each year to AMALIE Arena. Over the past eight years, the team has invested close to $100 million in renovations to the arena with more scheduled, continuing to create a world class experience of fans, season ticket members and corporate partners.
Griggs has helped lead the Lightning through five very successful seasons on the ice, including the Lightning’s unprecedented success during the 2018-19 regular season, winning a franchise-best 62 games, tied for the most in NHL history. The Bolts’ 128 regular season points in 2018-19 were the fourth most all-time in League history and the most in the NHL by 21 points over second-place finishers Calgary and Boston, allowing Tampa Bay to capture its first-ever Presidents’ Trophy. The Lightning also secured their second-consecutive Atlantic Division crown and fourth division title overall. Under Griggs’ guidance, the Lightning unveiled a new third jersey and uniform system to much success during the 2018-19 season, an undertaking nearly two years in the making and a collaborative work between the Lightning, adidas and the NHL. On February 7, 2020, Griggs led the charge on the new naming rights of the Lightning’s practice facility, TGH Ice Plex.
Off the ice, the Lightning continued to transform the Tampa Bay landscape through its grassroots community efforts. The Lightning’s community hockey department, Lightning Made, has opened new outdoor street hockey rinks across the Tampa Bay area, and is committed to opening 10 public outdoor street hockey rinks through their Build the Thunder 2.0 and Connect the Thunder programs. Lightning Made handed out its 100,000th street hockey stick at Colson Elementary School in April 2019 as part of the Equip the Thunder program, which started in 2015 and has been dedicated to introducing the game of hockey to fourth- and eighth-grade students by donating hockey equipment to schools. Griggs also spearheaded the organization’s launch of the new Lightning Made Training Center, a focal point for youth to learn the game and for the team to continue teaching and educating more than just on-ice skills. Since 2015, the Lightning, in conjunction with the NHL and the NHL Players Association, have invested more than $6 million to grow the game of hockey and teach life skills to youth throughout the Tampa Bay community.
During Griggs’ tenure with the Lightning, the organization has risen to unprecedented heights, as evidenced by the team selling out 234 consecutive games as of March 12, 2020. Griggs engineered a 95 percent Season Ticket Member renewal rate for the 2019-20 season. Season ticket sales were capped at 15,000 for the third-consecutive summer, and the Lightning Priority Access Club stands at 4,800 seats and growing. In addition, the team and broadcast partner FOX Sports Sun set all-time viewership records during 2018-19. Prior to Griggs’ arrival, the Lightning played to 83 percent capacity or less for two consecutive seasons before seeing a major turnaround at the gate and a major brand renaissance. With the significant increase in attendance and overall brand awareness over the past few seasons, the team has in turn seen increases in revenues and profitability. Under Griggs’ guidance, the Bolts have also continued to see a significant boost in corporate partnerships driven by key sponsorship renewals, new business growth and in-market brand and retail activations. The Lightning once again saw a high renewal percentage amongst current partners including Tampa General Hospital, Apple, Southwest Airlines and Honda. In addition, the team has added several new best-in-brand local, national and international partners including Cigar City Brewing, Pepsi, Grant Thornton and Ling Long Tires.
Griggs was instrumental in generating the team’s “Be the Thunder” campaign that has galvanized the fan base and served as a rallying cry to fans both at the games and in the community. “Be the Thunder” entered its ninth consecutive season in 2019-20, further demonstrating its staying power and paying tribute to the Lightning’s passionate fan base, making them part of the team. Under Griggs’ guidance, the Lightning were ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s “Ultimate Standings” in September 2016. Prior to taking home the top honors, the Lightning were ranked in the Top 10 in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. The accolades didn’t end there as Tampa Bay was named a finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s Sports Team of the Year in 2016, the only NHL team to do so. The organization has also been recognized for its corporate culture, being named to the Tampa Bay Times’ Top 100 Best Places to Work in five consecutive years starting in 2014.
Most recently, Griggs played a pivotal role in the formation of Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties, LLC (TBEP) and its groundbreaking agreement with the University of South Florida on a 10-year multimedia rights partnership and facility management of the USF Sun Dome. The agreement grants TBEP the exclusive rights to all commercial multimedia sports marketing, sponsorship, and respective inventory possessed by USF Athletics. On June 10, 2018, TBEP announced a new multi-year agreement to rename the Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center, partnering with D.G. Yuengling & Son, America’s Oldest Brewery, who has maintained a facility near the university since 1999. In 2018, TBEP also launched The Identity Tampa Bay, an on-demand digital network that will offer local lifestyle, entertainment and sports content in multiple forms, including a newsletter, digital media and streaming services.
Before coming to Tampa Bay, Griggs spent nearly three years serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Orlando Magic. During his time in Orlando, Griggs oversaw the Magic’s corporate partnerships, premium sales and services, season ticket services and operations, brand management, event presentation and ticket sales departments. Griggs also directed strategic sales and marketing efforts for the new Amway Center, which opened in October 2010.
Prior to joining the Magic, Griggs served for seven years as the vice president of sales and service for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League and their parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (MSE). In Minnesota, Griggs’ responsibilities included overseeing all Wild and MSE ticket sales and service, corporate sales and service, suite sales and service, retail operations as well as group and event suite sales. The Aurora, Ontario native also worked for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the NBA’s Toronto Raptors (1994-99) and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs (1998-99) as the director of ticket sales and service, where he led the sales and relocation efforts from historic Maple Leaf Gardens into Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Griggs and his wife, Janell, have a daughter, Maddie, and a son, Jack.