The Florida Panthers' new management has decided there will be no more freebies. You're cut off, South Florida. No more free tickets with the purchase of a Publix sub.
The Panthers want you to pay to watch them play, and as you can see from the above photo of their game on Monday, you have replied to this demand with "LOLOLOLOLOL, NOPE." The team announced Monday's home game drew 7,000 fans, which is more likely to be referring to the fact that the 100 people pictured above literally drew 7,000 people, than that those many asses actually touched a seat.
Why is no one going to Panthers games?
What's that? They should win more? Hahahahaha! It goes without saying that making the playoffs more than four times in 21 years would help put sell some tickets. Starting this year winless and barely scoring goals is not helping. But the Panthers can't exactly raid New York and steal Rick Nash.
So let's go over some realistic ways the Panthers can make their games more attractive to fans right now.
Two words: CRAFT BEER
You want to stand out and get some potential younger fans attention? Team up with local breweries like Funky Buddha and start selling the good stuff at the games, cheap. Stop trying to sell people on clubs and VIP areas in stadiums and arenas. Beer and hockey already go hand-and-hand, so think outside the box and turn every Panthers game into a mini-beer fest. I have no doubt local breweries would jump at the opportunity to get their name out there more, and give the team lots of publicity at their establishments. Instant cool factor, for minimal investment.
50/50 raffles, because people love gambling
If you're not familiar with what a 50/50 raffle is, it's pretty basic thing many pro sports teams are starting to do during games to attract more fans. Basically, the team sells raffle tickets, and the money collected is split between a charitable purpose, and one lucky winner. That's it. The more tickets sold, the more money in the pot for both parties. This might seem like a gimmick, and it is, but it's for a good cause and the odds-of-winning are better than any scratch-off ticket. This team's stadium is located in Sunrise, for God's sake, I bet they could move in on the bingo crowd with this type of promotion.
Bring back the Ice Dancers, dummies!
Seriously Panthers, get over yourselves. You're a part of a sport that allows children to cheer grown men trying to knock out each others teeth with their bare-knuckle-fists, but dancers aren't cool? I went to a Panthers game a few years back and I have no recollection of the score or the teams I saw, but what I do remember is women dancing in cages surrounded by fire. You know why? Because that's a thing that you don't see every damn day, and it's frickin' awesome. Bring back the dancers and send them to bars with one guy in a suit selling ticket packages, this isn't that hard!
In addition to your dancers, you should be inviting every dance crew from every High School or College that will take your phone call. People like to watch their children dance in stadiums or arenas, and they pay to go inside and take selfies of this thing. They pay you, for supplying entertainment. Dancers are good, don't deny yourself this thing.
Food Truck Wars
Again, this isn't that difficult, people like food. So far we have mentioned great beer, gambling, and sexy women as a way the Florida Panthers can draw more people to games -- sounding more interesting, right? KABLOOOSH! Add crazy-ass awesome and weird food everywhere! What?! Is it my birthday?! NOPE, IT'S A FLORIDA PANTHERS GAME, FOOL!
Set up a gate near the parking lots, game ticket gets you in, and you're hit with food trucks, craft beer, Ice Dancers, raffles, and fun "NHL Experience" type activities for kids before you even think about that whole Hockey deal. When all that is available to you for the price of a Panthers ticket, the Hockey game because just an added bonus. But who cares, people paid, and they are now inside making noise all drunk and full.
Get more kids to the game, and their parents will follow
The biggest problem the Panthers are facing is they have no fan base. Literally, almost none. Why? The biggest reason is because it's Florida, and playing hockey is about the 1,000th thing a South Florida kid might be interested in doing. Focus on getting more kids to games, even if it means breaking your discounted tickets rule. Camps, field trips, whatever it may be, get groups of kids to come experience the game, then watch them go home and ask their parents to go on a future night.
Everyone says hockey is so much better in person, so expose the kids to it early if you're all about a solid future in South Florida. The Heat and Marlins had the edge, lots of kids grows up loving baseball and basketball, few pay attention to hockey. Make it a priority to get more kids to the game, and by the time they can drive you might find yourself not having to have raffles to gain fans.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.