SBD/Issue 46/Franchises

Fan Discontent Grows As NFL Panthers' Struggles Continue

Panthers' 1-8 Start To Season Has Some
Fans Upset With Franchise's Direction

Fall Sundays "just don't feel the same" in Charlotte with the NFL Panthers being a "bad dream of a team," according to the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Scott Fowler, who wrote a front-page piece under the header, "The Losing Season Of Our Discontent." The 1-8 Panthers this season are "making some of their most dedicated fans angst-ridden or down-right angry." But people are "still watching," as Panthers games "easily remain the No. 1 show in Charlotte each week" despite ratings dropping 7-10% compared to the same period last year. And the Panthers' "actual turnstile counts" at Bank of America Stadium are around 60,000-62,000 per game, "quite respectable by NFL standards, although Panthers fans seem to be leaving quicker than they ever have before." After Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson decided to "go cheap for the 2010 season," some fans questioned his "deep involvement on the management side of the NFL's ongoing labor-management dispute, wondering if he is putting the NFL's fortunes ahead of his own team's." Richardson "has not granted a real interview all season; in fact, he has barely taken any questions from members of the news media for years." But Richardson and Panthers President Danny Morrison -- along with several other team employees -- have been "calling on individual fans who have complained about the team by sending a 'feedback' e-mail to the Panthers website." Several of those fans have said that they are "impressed with the personal touch." Still, Fowler wrote the Panthers' '10 season will be known as a "throwaway year that made a lot of people cringe" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/14).

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