As (very) longtime Panthers season seat holders in sections 101, 102, and 134 have received after-the-fact notification of the club's desire to relocate them to "comparable" areas of the building - bulldozing the way for an ultra-exclusive section dubbed "Club Red" - we've received quite a few comments over the past week illustrating the collective anger of a tightly-knit group. Reaction and more after the jump...
A solid backstory can be found via Craig Davis' recent article at the Sun-Sentinel, so we'll recommend giving that a once-over (as well as his follow-up featuring an "official" response by team president Michael Yormark). Our own RPC - a season seat holder within those very same sections - also weighed in several days ago with her FanPost written from a die-hard's perspective.
There are many elements fueling the fire here, not the least of which was the club's push months ago to re-sign patrons (in many cases for two years) in the ultimately affected areas without disclosing their plans, along with the general feeling of being kicked to the curb after having "earned" the seats they've had for so long.
A few reactions by seat holders submitted to LBC...
- "Didn't we finish almost last this year? Have we not made the playoffs for 10 years? Don't we have a whole roster of people who have never played together before and a rookie NHL coach? Isn't the economy about bust? Do the Red Wings, Bruins or any other team have something like this? $20,000 per seat. I have never seen the ADT club full at $10,000 per seat. My 2 seats will go from $6500 to $40,000 next year. Can't we wait until we are a perennial playoff and Stanley Cup winning team?"
- "They are kicking in the teeth some of their most loyal fans."
- "Whether this will work or not from an arena perspective as a business matter is open to debate. But from a Panthers [on-ice product] perspective, it is terrible. Picture this: who will be sitting there (if they are not bright red empties [due to the typical] corporate no-shows)?"
- "They’ve done it again. Unable to sell the ADT section, they are now expanding the concept by kicking out everyone in Section 134, 102, 101 unless they join this all inclusive, VIP, tickets to all events, networking with other successful "south florida individual" club membership."
- "I will either renew in the substitute seats or, more likely, abandon them in disgust. How many slaps can a person take and keep paying their money?"
- "I am outraged at this! We are losing our season seats because they want to build an "exclusive club" where we currently sit. What are they thinking? What happens when the Panthers lose what little fans they actually have left? There are no comparable seats, as the only seats that "match" ours are where the cameramen stand! I mean 50% off isn't going to get us anything close to what we have currently. This club is going to seriously upset many long time season ticket holders and other fans need to know what they are planning to do to the BAC for the 2012-13 season."
- "I really hope this is a [bad] dream and I can keep my seats in Sec [X] Row [X] Seats [X] since I already paid 2 years in advance. About $13,500 for 2 years/2 seats. I guess I could buy 1/2 a seat with the new plan."
- "It’s bull...t. They are prioritizing the arena over the Panthers success and seem to have given up on the Panthers ever being successful enough to support the arena."
Whether the club truly anticipated this type of understandable level of emotion from their paying customers will likely never be revealed, but this marketing strategy is unquestionably not intended to win points with the longtime faithful.