SBD/January 19, 2012/Franchises

NHL Panthers Using Playoff Discounts To Drive Renewals For Next Season

Panthers will charge for parking next season except those buying full-season ticket plans
The NHL Panthers have not been in the playoffs since '00, but the team is "using the offer of deeply discounted playoff tickets to drive" season-ticket renewals for next season, according to Craig David of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The team, which currently is tied for first place in the Southeastern Division, this week sent an invoice to season-ticket holders. One letter to a fan stated it would cost $6,845 for his two lower bowl seats in the playoffs through the Stanley Cup Finals if he “doesn't promptly renew his season tickets for next year.” The team gave “the option of renewing by Feb. 13 and buying the same strip of playoff tickets for $2,285, a savings of $4,560.” Panthers President & COO Michael Yormark said it is "one of the most aggressive playoff-ticket prices that you'll see" in the NHL. Yormark: "It's a much better value for that season-seat holder than somebody that just purchases a ticket via Ticketmaster. I think because it's been so long since we made the playoffs, people don't realize what other teams price their playoff tickets at." Yormark said that 98% of season-ticket prices for the '11-12 season are “remaining the same or decreasing slightly from this season.” Still, David notes many fans “received discounts and will end up paying more.” Yormark: "This franchise has been working toward building its brand and filling its building for the last couple years, and we've had promotional offers. As we move forward, we are pulling back on some of those special promotional offers." Craig notes the Panthers will “resume charging for parking next season except for those buying full-season ticket plans” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/19).

THE RIGHT MIX: SI’s Brian Cazeneuve notes the Panthers on paper "appear to be an ungainly amalgamation of castoffs," but the club has “proved to be a legitimate playoff contender.” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said, "It's surprised us to be ahead of schedule. How (everybody) would fit together was a total unknown." Cazeneuve notes much of the teams' success is "seemingly a result of the Panthers' lack of identity becoming their actual identity. Panthers D Ed Jovanovksi, who re-joined the team this offseason after playing with them from '95-99, said, "There's a real culture change with this group tasting success and wanting more" (SI, 1/23 issue).
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