NHL Panthers Attendance Down From Last Season, But Yormark Confident In Turnaround
A last-place finish "for the first time in franchise history and a complete lack of activity on the free agent market over the summer has cost" the NHL Panthers "at the gate this season," according to George Richards of the MIAMI HERALD. Although the Panthers "have gotten a recent push from big draws" in the Red Wings, Canadians and Rangers, the team is "still near the bottom of the league in average attendance (26th) and capacity percentage (29th)." The Panthers with the team up for sale "didn’t make a splash with free agent signings, but also let" C Stephen Weiss -- the "face of the franchise -- walk away without much of a fight." The team tried to "create excitement in a market that yawned," as it "slashed prices on season tickets -- some were going as low as $7 per game -- with a number of perks to those who signed on." The Panthers through 21 home dates this season are "averaging 2,334 less per game than they announced in 24 home games last season." However, October and November are "traditionally hard sells" for the team. Panthers President Michael Yormark said, "Having seven games in October hurt us; it’s too much for us. With the Olympic season, it’s not a balanced schedule. We just had too much inventory in October, and I think things are going to catch up. We have a lot of big games left." The team this season is playing "to 76 percent of its capacity at the BB&T Center, which holds 19,250," although it has "reduced official capacity by putting up tarps in the upper deck for select games." With the new ownership, which has "promised to spend whatever is necessary to make the Panthers a winner, Yormark is confident fans will return" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/3).