SBD/April 29, 2011/Franchises

Panthers Hold Draft Party For First Time To Capitalize On Having No. 1 Pick

About 8,000-10,000 Panthers fans watched the Draft at Bank of Amercia Stadium
The Panthers Thursday night held the first NFL Draft party in franchise history at Bank of America Stadium, and organizers indicated they were pleased with the turnout. About 8,000-10,000 fans came to the free event and watched as the team announced QB Cam Newton as the first overall pick in the Draft. Panthers President Danny Morrison said the event was a few months in the making and a big motivation was having the top pick. Morrison: “I think the number one pick was the impetus for the event this year.” The event had several different components to it, including a tailgate party outside, fan access to the team’s locker room, and several on-field activities. The tailgate party featured a band, concessions and a showcase of fans’ spirited vehicles. Panthers Dir of Sponsor Sales & Services John Berger said that about 8-10 sponsors were on hand for the event, thinking it may be a way to reach a different group of people. “We might have some folks that are here tonight that have never come to the game,” Berger said, “and it gives them the opportunity to come to the building, see what we have to offer.” The sponsors included Bojangles, Bank of America, CPI Security, National Guard, Krispy Kreme, Pepsi Max and Anheuser-Busch, whose Bud Light brand title sponsored the event. The team also had merchandise and ticket sales booths, with about 40% of the ticket sales staff on hand.

WITH THE FIRST PICK, THE PANTHERS SELECT... The in-stadium scoreboards, as well as two video screens set up outside the stadium, were airing a live feed of NFL Network’s Draft broadcast. As the time drew near for the Panthers’ pick to be announced, the crowd gathered around the screens. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on the screen, the Charlotte fans, much like those sitting in Radio City Music Hall, booed him. Following Newton being announced as the No. 1 pick, several cheers erupted outside the stadium and streamers filled the air. But shortly after, the crowd dispersed, and within 15 minutes could be described as sparse. Both Morrison and Berger noted that they would consider hosting the event in the future, but hope that it would not coincide with the team holding the first pick again any time soon.
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