If there is one thing I know how to do very well, it’s hate South Florida professional sports teams. I have grown up here my whole life. I hate the Heat, the Panthers, and the Dolphins. At the end of the day, I just really hate baseball. Here’s the deal, I have one option when it comes to hockey live, The Panthers.
This puts me in the unique situation where I can speak as an observer that regularly watches games, but isn’t invested as a fan. Sadly, that’s most of their ticket buyers. When you attend a Panthers game and they play a big team, there’s a huge crowd making the game atmosphere an away game for Florida. When they play against lesser storied teams, well you get to sit in row 3 for $20.00.
Now, could I fix the Panthers in one day? No, but do I as a hockey fan know what I would like to see in order to make my rooting interest go from “Anyone but the Panthers,” to “Panthers, except when the play Tampa”? Yes.
First, grab some scorers. You don’t have to get huge names like Rick Nash, or P.K. Subban to drum up interest, it wouldn’t hurt, but it’s not a necessity. Simply put, get some guys who can put pucks in the net. Currently they stand at -71 in goal differential. That means that the excitement of scoring is drastically reduced by the scoring of the opposition. In fact, 72% of the time Florida scores, they are either coming back from a deficit or about to be scored on again. That would be fine if Florida was out there getting beat 4-5, but the typical score is 2-3. In today’s NHL, that just will not fly. Want fans in the seats, trade for, or build up a scorers popularity.
Secondly, would it hurt for some major upgrades to the arena? Okay, they installed the “Big Red” scoreboard this year. It’s tiny, it’s malfunctioning at least once per game and it seems like they never even went over to Tampa and saw the great video board they have. You can’t pull the wool over fans eyes with words like “Big” the people who pay for tickets aren’t 7. We have internet access and can see what other places do. The arena is one of the best. I would gladly accept an opportunity to speak about the great views from all around or how everything is nice and clean, but it just seemed weird to unveil a new board that isn’t really all that great. In addition to the screen, what about WiFi? I know it’s an idea that isn’t talked about when hockey is around, but in today’s day and age it would be nice to actually have some social media interaction when prompted by the video board. In other words, don’t ask me to tweet from the lower bowl when myself, and my friends are all struggling to send a text.
Okay, this one is really a killer. That childish logo and obnoxious color scheme. Instead of yellow, a nice golden panther type color would be nice. Trash the red, (that for some reason seems to be a focal point of the team) for maybe even just a nicer shade. When your colors remind people of fast food joints it’s not great. Those colors are designed to make people want to leave. Not only can you sell new merchandise, you can also revamp the image of the team, which still celebrates the time they got swept in the Stanley Cup Finals (has to be the only professional franchise that celebrates such a horrible series).
Fans don’t care that Luongo is back. They really don’t. I know because I was at his first game back that was, yep half empty. Fans, or potential fans care about a few things in South Florida. Looking cool, scoring points, and having a horrible theme song every time you do something. Old names, that never won titles with the team don’t matter for seats sold. You share a market with the 2x NBA Champions, this type of failure is simply not an option when their ticket sales hurt yours.
Someone Who Would Love To Enjoy His Local Hockey Team More.