Panthers “Club Red” Section is a Joke

By
Updated: February 15, 2013
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Last summer, Michael Yormark, President of the Florida Panthers NHL Hockey Team, and the BB&T Center, announced that the club would be introducing premium seat pricing in certain sections of the arena.  Those sections known as “Club Red” are being sold with the following perks, and features given in this advertising produced by the Club and Arena.

The innovative seating provides private concierge service, access to a private club and lounge, private restrooms, programs included with your purchase and a number of other amenities.  Its quite the list, and you can see it in the advertising produced above.    The seats are also located in a prime location, being sections 101, 102, and 134.  These just so happen to be the seats at centre ice, and behind the team benches.  They are also directly opposite the camera in the arena

The problem?  There is no one in the seats.  Watching the game yesterday, it was clear to see that there was maybe a dozen fans (or less) in the seats.  Every time there was a play in the neutral zone, entire sections of empty red seats were visible.  While the rest of the arena was reportedly quite full, having next to no fans in the best seats in the rink has to be embarrassing for a TV broadcast.

What has happened?   One theory is that the cost of Club Red Tickets is so prohibitive that no one is buying them.   As seen in this article by Puck Daddy when the Club Red Section was announced, season tickets that were $2,500 each have now gone up to nine times that amount at $22,500 for the season.  This is probably a major reason why the seats are so empty.

Edit: Panthers fans now tell me that the price has dropped to a mere $16,500 for a one year membership to the club (including concerts).  This still seems an insane price, and a reason why the seats are empty

A second reason that has been given is that apparently the corporate crowd who sits in these seats are all busy in the club 360 lounge instead of watching the play.  Now, we’ve all seen this phenomena with scattered crowds in the platinum section of the ACC for Toronto Maple Leafs games.  But let me tell you, that wasn’t what we had here.  This wasn’t a scattered crowd.  This wasn’t some of the seats being empty because people were in the restaurant/lounge.  There were literally about a dozen fans, in sections that could seat 672 people (according to Puck Daddy’s August Article).

This is killing the atmosphere at the game, is an embarrassment on television, and a marketing flop on the level of new Coke.  All the Panthers have done here is anger season ticket holders and long time fans by making major ticket price increases, and have a ton of empty, overpriced seats to show for it.  Things will only get more embarrassing this weekend when the game between Tampa and Florida is scheduled for a national broadcast on the NHL network.  The Panthers need to end this awful experiment and end it now.

And that’s the last word.

Follow me on twitter @lastwordBkerr and the site @lastwordonsport

Main photo credit: bridgetds via photopin cc

8 Comments

  1. Angry Panthers Fan

    February 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    This club is an utter embarrassment to the fans of the Florida Panthers. It has done absolutely nothing but destroy any semblance of “atmosphere” in the BB&T Center. The three sections of empty seats behind the benches are a very real threat to the air of credibility Dale Tallon is trying to achieve for this long-suffering organization.

    This humiliating debacle can be pinned on ONE individual: Michael Yormark @PanthersYormark (The Southeast Sports and Entertainment Chief Operating Officer). He is solely responsible for this shameful mess. It is highly likely that he simply stole the idea from the center ice clubs at the Prudential Center in Newark (Where is twin brother, Brett Yormark, held a similar position with former a tenant, The New Jersey (Brooklyn) Nets).

    By proceeding to construct this extraordinarily pitiful club last summer, he has done more than embarrass the franchise when anyone watches a Florida Panthers game on television. He has now created a false level of demand by strong-arming longtime corporate partners and suppliers, and forcing them to purchase “memberships” in Club Red in order to keep their business with the Panthers. It’s a disgusting state of affairs in Sunrise. The next step is to begin strong-arming the longtime season ticket holders in the center section on the other side of the ice by telling them that they now sit in seats that are in “high demand” (They’re in such high demand because the Season Ticket Holders displaced for Club Red’s implementation are now in search of alternative seating). Now, in order to continue to watch the pitiful Panthers play hockey, the longest-tenured season ticket holders are having their rates rise by a considerable amount. Can you imagine that happening in any other business? Can you imagine having a substandard product being delivered to you for nearly two decades, and then having your prices rise because one arrogant member of management figured out a way to swindle in excess of seven million dollars from the citizens of Broward County for the construction of a “members only” club for the rich and elite? (For an interesting read, research how Yormark managed to pull off this larceny from the county. It’s an interesting story to say the least. Pay particular attention to how Yormark avoids a very tenacious reporter at the Broward Courthouse).

    Panthers’ ownership is not without culpability in this fiasco. They have apparently given Yormark carte blanche to do whatever he pleases. If you attend a Panthers game, you’re placed right in the middle of a three-hour commercial at an ear-piercingly loud volume level. It’s quite entertaining to see players from the visiting teams look skyward in hopes of seeing a replay of a crucial play on the BB&T Center’s ancient scoreboard, only to be disappointed when no replay is forthcoming (instead they are treated to a seemingly endless array of promotions, cheesy contests, and made-for-TV commercials).

    Something needs to be done to stop this egomaniac from obliterating the budding sense of self-respect Dale Tallon is managing to instill in this shell-shocked fan base. If nothing is done, Yormark stands to ruin hockey in South Florida even beyond its already fragile state.

    • I hate the devils

      February 25, 2013 at 10:48 am

      RUIN HOCKEY IN SOUTH FLORIDA? you never had a fan base to being with!

  2. :|

    February 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Why don’t they just put the cameras on the other side like in Edmonton? Or does “you get to be seen on TV” get tacked on as a selling point for Club Red?

    • Ben Kerr

      February 16, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Most networks want their cameras to be able to take shots of the coaches/players on the benches pretty easily.

      • :|

        February 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

        Does the ease of bench shots make up for just how bad it looks on TV the rest of the game to have all those rows empty?

        I guess this is just something the Panthers ownership should have realized would happen ahead of time and should have put it on the side no one would see.

        • Ben Kerr

          February 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm

          Well also remember that the restaurant with the free food/drink is above the sections that are empty. The renovations probably took out the area where the Cameras would need to be positioned in order to broadcast from that side of the ice.

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