SBD/January 16, 2013/Franchises

NHL Panthers Tickets Selling At Pace Comparable To Last Season's Playoffs

NHL Panthers tickets have been "selling at a pace comparable to the playoffs last year" since the NHL schedule was announced on Saturday, according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Early indications are that hockey fans "are eager to re-engage with their sport," and Panthers officials are "hopeful of a sellout" for Saturday's opener against the Hurricanes. Original season-ticket holders on Saturday will be "on the ice during the player introductions, and other initiatives intended to help the team reconnect with fans are planned for opening night and continuing through the 48-game season." Panthers Owner Cliff Viner said, "I'm sure there are people who are disgruntled. My view is that if we get off to a decent start … we'll grab all those people that were on the fence that we couldn't engage before." Davis notes the lockout "took a major bite out of the opening of Club Red." The Panthers invested $7.7M in the "plush premium lounge that offers gourmet dining and drinks as well as the best seats in the house overlooking center ice." Memberships go for about $16,500 annually for all arena events, though "hockey-only and concert-only plans are also offered." VP/Communications & Public Affairs Matt Sacco said that more than half of the 600 memberships "have been sold." But Viner expressed concerns about how "numerous empty prime seats will look on television broadcasts" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/16).
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