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ARE PANTHERS PUTTING ON THE HEAT IN SEASON-TICKET BATTLE?
Published November 10, 1997
A comparison of the Heat and NHL Panthers in the Miami market was featured in Sunday's MIAMI HERALD. The Panthers, who won 35 games last season and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, have sold 13,000 season tickets for this season, while the Heat, coming off an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, have sold "just under 10,000." But TV ratings are higher for the Heat, whose telecasts on broadcast TV averaged a 5.3 last year, while the Panthers averaged a 3.4. Heat President of Business Operations Jay Cross, on the ticket disparity: "The answer is primarily one of timing. (In 1996) they went to the Stanley Cup, they didn't sell out every game. The year after, they sold out because they were a hot commodity." COMPARISONS: The average ticket price for the Panthers is $38.02 -- $1.05 higher than the Heat's $36.97 average -- and the Panthers are "expecting a ticket-price increase" when their new arena opens next season. While neither team would disclose ad budgets, Cross confirmed the Heat's budget has been increased, and they will "will advertise more this season on TV, radio and bus stops." The Panthers say they've increased their budget, "even though every game sold out last year." Regarding giveaways, the Heat has scheduled 25 this year, the same as in '96-97, while the Panthers will have 10, also the same as last season (MIAMI HERALD, 11/9).