The wizards behind the tampa bay lightning’s pre-game show made the 2016 season memorable m gasbuddy app

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He’s counting the seconds in between videos playing on the 28-foot-tall Jumbotron over the ice at Amalie Arena, making sure the show stays on time. Tampa Bay Lightning players are already on the ice warming up for Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference final, and the seats are filling up with fans. Franzone and his team of 12 are in place all over the arena.

Franzone, the vice president of presentation at Amalie Arena, is in charge of creating inspiring material to pump up the sold-out crowds. He grits his teeth as he points to the disc jockey seated next to him, signaling Thunderstruck by AC/DC to begin. A lightning bolt is projected onto the ice and follows a young hockey player who hoists a lit-up hockey stick to the beat of "Thun-der."

A small smile cracks Franzone’s lips when it’s all over — after the Tesla coils fire off bolts from above and the lasers from atop the impressive organ go dark against the arena’s ceiling. Nearly every fan is out of his or her seat cheering.

Over the years, the tools he has to create unique videos, intermission fan games and ice projections have advanced immensely. In 2011, under the new ownership of Jeff Vinik, the team installed a new $1 million organ — the largest in the NHL — at the south end of the arena. The next year, the Bolts installed the $5 million, 50-foot-wide Jumbotron, the massive center-hung system, also the largest in the league.

But it’s the presentations Franzone and his team have put together that have drawn the interest of sports teams from all over the country. Several other NHL teams, including the Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars and New York Rangers, have sent representatives to Tampa to learn how the Lightning does it. NBA teams have visited, too.

His team beefed up for the playoffs, too. A total of 14 projectors were placed around the arena and there were 16 additional moving lights to create the "premier feel," Franzone said. There are 80 strobes and LED tube lights that create a "chandelier" above the Jumbotron and more lasers at the organ deck. There are four vertical scrim sheets that dangle on the sides of the Jumbotron, where images and videos are projected.

Franzone is a graduate of New York University’s film school. Though he has never made a movie, he takes a cinematic approach with the displays and experiences he creates for sports teams. He started working for the New York Yankees, then the Tampa Bay Rays. He also had a brief stint at Disney.

But the preparation begins months ahead of time. Franzone, 50, and his team of producers film and edit videos in advance. They can range from preshow cuts to the Lightning’s master of ceremonies, Greg Wolf, and the Lightning Girls cheerleaders, or the nightly "community heroes" segment, where a local person is honored for his or her charitable work.

"They call me the prince of darkness," Franzone said. "Hockey is unique because I’m able to create a whole new experience in the dark that you won’t see at any other kind of sports game. The lasers, the organ, the Tesla coils, those are nice secret weapons to have."