Florida Panthers: The role and importance of being a fan

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 6: Florida Panthers fans have messages of support for their team prior to the start of the game against the St. Louis Blues at the BB
SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 6: Florida Panthers fans have messages of support for their team prior to the start of the game against the St. Louis Blues at the BB /

The Florida Panthers have been through some ups and downs since the day they became a team. Without the fans though, there wouldn’t be a team.

I know what a lot of you are going to say: “If it wasn’t for Doug and Vinnie purchasing this team, the Panthers would have been sold a long time ago”. If you are one who believes in this, you are certainly right. Viola and Cifu’s money definitely make the difference in keeping this team standing financially.

However, the owners can pour all the money they want into the team, but without the fans spending money on tickets and merchandise, there wouldn’t be any revenue or seats filled. This is not to say that the team is making money, because it’s not. In the past and currently to date, the Cats have struggled to fill the seats.

Special deals like “family pack” which include free parking, still don’t even work. The ticket prices are very reasonable (compared to where I’m from), but it’s still not working. There are two things we need to look at. Firstly, the location of the arena is very inconvenient from what I’ve heard from Panther fans. And secondly, the product that has been put on the ice just hasn’t been worth seeing, nor spending money on.

For the Panthers sake it’s quite simple. Put a good product (team) on the ice, that delivers results (wins), and you’ll start to see more fans showing up to games. It’s very unlikely that the Panthers will relocate their arena, so turning to the second point (the product) is very important.

Now, to the fans. While the players plays a critical role for the team, don’t discredit what we (the fans) do either. The fans are easily one of the most important or if not the most important aspect to the team. Without fans, what do the players really have playing for? Sure, they still have Lord Stanley, but playing in front of an empty crowd is no fun either. There is no emotion or excitement to the game at all.

After all, what player doesn’t like the feeling of hearing the crowd roar after a clutch goal is scored? I know I would if I was a player. The one’s who provide the excitement to the game are the fans, and we act like a 6th player on the ice during home games.

My only suggestion to the fans (which includes myself) would be to continue attending games, even through the highs and the lows. I certainly understand why season ticket holders don’t renew, and it’s obvious to note it’s because of the product that is put on the ice. They’re tired of losing and constantly missing the post-season. To be fair, I don’t blame them. All of us fans are tired of losing and just want to see our team succeed. It really goes without saying.

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Despite all of that, we as fans need to continue supporting this team, even if it means attending the odd game here or there. The Panthers certainly have fans from abroad (which include myself), and I do recommend that we all try to catch at least one game. I for one will do my absolute best to try an attend a game this season. It will only be for one game, but I know I am still doing a small part to try an support this team. I ask all of you to do the same (if time is on your side).

To the fans on social media (you know who you are), continue to use the platform as a supporting tool for the Panthers. To the regular (usual) season ticket holders, please continue to attend games frequently and do your best to persuade others to join you in the process. Lastly, to the fans abroad, do make it a point when you’re in FLA, to try an catch a game. It makes all the difference.