Today, the Florida Panthers posted a release on their website that the best party in South Florida is, in fact, a Panthers home game-- which has earned "rave reviews" in the first three games of the season; which includes attendances over 15,000 on two Saturday wins including a sell out for the opener. After a small synopsis, the Panthers put out commentary from ticket holders about their experiences at the BankAtlantic Center.
There's a couple interesting things about this whole PR move. First, the Panthers are averaging 14,563, which is 23rd in the league with Carolina not having a home game yet (though it happens tonight). The BAC holds 19,250, which doesn't include what they have tarped off for Party City ads and to not have as many empty seats there. Second, you're going to sell out on opening night in most instances, so it's should come as a surprise. Third, you have played three home games and to tout something big like that is as silly as people getting crazy over their team being top in the conference after six or so games.
What really bothers me, though, is just the testimonials that they have on their release. It's something that I'd expect if they were hawking Sham-Wows or any other product you see at 3:45 AM on a cable channel that doesn't want to replay anymore of their craptastic shows. While I get the idea they're trying to sell the actual part of going to the game to the people who look at the website and don't attend the games, but it seems like a tacky way to go about-- especially on the official site of the team. Odds are, the demographic that is visiting the site are the ones in the seats.
If they were to do this release and have it widespread into the mainstream media, it'd be a better looking thing for them and it's something that could get a buzz going for the team. However, with the Panthers playing head-to-head against the Miami Heat and the trio of terror they signed this summer-- they're going to get lost in the sports pages because they don't have that kind of allure. If you're going to throw out Tomas Vokoun, Bryan McCabe, and Rostislav Olesz against Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh....the Heat win out, even without Bosh.
You have to like the effort the Panthers trying to do anything through any means in order to get people constantly in the seats, but it seems a bit hacky to do it after three games and within the team website. Especially with the quotes, it's a desperate move by a desperate team. If anything, the Panthers are probably as bad or worse than the Phoenix Coyotes and could be the next team with the heat on them to move if they can't improve their appeal. The appeal is winning and the Panthers have missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons, which won't bode well for the box office. It'll take more than quotes (which I find suspect anyway) to sway some people to spend their money watching a mediocre hockey club. It takes results-- and the Panthers don't have that now.