SBD/Issue 88/Franchises

NFL Panthers Face Decisions On Concessions, Beer, Tickets

Panthers Officials Expected To Make A
Decision On Concessions In Next Few Weeks
NFL Panthers President Danny Morrison and other team officials "face crucial issues ... between now and the start of summer training camp: to lock in ticket renewals, land new backers and put renewed sizzle into the NFL franchise's marketing blitz," according ton Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Panthers are "grappling with a range of economic concerns, from declining corporate hospitality sales to fans and sponsors resistant to price hikes." Team officials "within the next few weeks ... expect to make a decision on which company will handle the team's concessions," as they shift from Stadium Food & Beverage, which was "created and owned by the Panthers for the past 12 seasons." Panthers officials have narrowed the list to three -- Aramark, Levy Restaurants and Delaware North Sportservice." Spanberg writes it is "time for the Panthers to decide whether they want to remain a part of the Pepsi generation -- or have a Coke and a smile instead." Also, "not long after the Panthers settle on a soft drink, the franchise will be looking at its beer options." Miller and Bud Light "share the team's beer sponsorship in deals worth a combined $4[M] annually," but those contracts "expire after the 2010 season." The Panthers also currently lack an automotive sponsor, as Carolina Chrysler-Jeep dealers "walked away" before the '08 season, and the team is "hoping some signs of life among carmakers in recent months can drive a new deal." Meanwhile, the Panthers "suffered a 3% dip in turnstile attendance and a 10% drop in Carolinas TV viewership" during the '09 season, and Panthers Dir of Ticket Sales & Operations Phil Youtsey said that the team is "working on its sales plans and strategies for a rollout later this year." While he declined to disclose plans, it "seems likely the Panthers will focus on adding perks to lure corporate buyers back" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/15 issue). 

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