Saturday, September 18, 2010

Could Charlotte fall out of love with the Panthers?

Once upon a time, Charlotte loved its pro basketball team. We threw it a parade after a last-place inaugural season. We quivered with pride at its first playoff series win. It was a prominent symbol of our new prominence as a city. We couldn’t imagine that changing.

It did, of course, and when we look back a decade to the end of the Charlotte Hornets, we usually point to owner George Shinn’s lurid sexual assault trial and his arrogant expectation of a publicly funded arena. But before all of that, something already had changed. Shinn, who began mumbling early about a better arena, had decided to let popular but expensive players go, including Alonzo Mourning. A merely good team seemed good enough for him.

It was then that we realized our pro franchise cared a little more about money than we wanted. By the time the Hornets came looking in earnest for that arena, well, Charlotte wasn’t so much in love anymore.

Today, the Carolina Panthers open their home schedule with the wrong kind of vibe. The team has spent the offseason jettisoning popular players and stashing the savings from those departures. Jerry Richardson, once the owner Charlotte could count on to not raise our eyebrows, has shoved his sons out the door and left his respected head coach a lame duck.

On the field, most experts pick the Panthers to be adequate at best, which leaves us right about where we left them, with one winning season since 2005. Except that you’ll pay more to watch, thanks to an increase in ticket prices.

Richardson has been characteristically quiet about it all, other than an interview with the team-owned Roar magazine. In that May chat, he defended the ticket increase by explaining that the Panthers’ revenues are in the bottom half of the NFL, which is a lot like complaining about living in one of the smaller houses on Queens Road West.

It could be that the team is being prudent with free agents and big contracts in the face of NFL labor uncertainty. But fan bases want their teams to be smart with money, not just thrifty – and other teams are spending, many of them smartly, to win.

The Panthers? They have the feel of a franchise that’s calculating how much it has to spend to keep its fans happy enough. The early answer from those fans: More. The team avoided a TV blackout this week by selling out hours before Thursday’s deadline – a troubling sign for a home opener.

Could Charlotte fall out of love with its pro football team? It happens. Sports industry guru Marc Ganis regularly sees complacency develop between cities and their pro franchises, even in the NFL. Often, he says, it’s because management and marketing get stale. Almost always, it’s because of this: “Expectations for success on the field aren’t met.”

All of which is standard sports page stuff – until teams start wanting some help with a stadium.

Last month, the Observer reported that Panthers President Danny Morrison had two meetings with City Manager Curt Walton. Of interest to the team is a 20-ish-acre tract of vacant land near the stadium on West Morehead Street. Could be a spot for a new stadium. Could be a place for a profitable team-owned parking lot, which the Panthers have pined for in the past.

The asking price for the land was $40 million a couple years back. It’s probably less now, and it’s available with a phone call to a commercial Realtor. So why the need to chat up the city manager? A hint: The current stadium was built with about $50 million of land and early development contributions from the city and county.

That was a good deal for Charlotte then, and it perhaps could be again when the team inevitably asks for new help. It’s difficult to imagine Charlotte losing its affection for the Panthers and Richardson, who has historically made so many right moves.

“I just don’t see the Panthers becoming complacent,” says Ganis, who is a Richardson fan.

But it happens. It happens in cities with richer sports histories and deeper-rooted fan bases. It happens because teams assume fans will always come, and that cities will always stay in love.

What happens then? Says Ganis: “Teams get rude awakenings.”

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Could Charlotte fall out of love with the Panthers?"

Years ago.

Larry said...

Did you just ask last week if we would help get a new stadium for the Panthers, and this week you are asking if we are even going to care for them?

What is going on up at the Observer?

I know things are getting dire, but try writing news stories.

pstonge said...

Hi Larry,

I didn't ask last week if we would help get a new stadium for the Panthers. I don't think anyone here wrote a story asking that. I'm not sure what you're referring to.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I think this was a great article, Peter, thank you.

My own interest in any sports team in Charlotte is solely in its value as a marketing tool for Charlotte. Professional sports long ago exposed itself as nothing more than an entertainment scam that sucks $$$ out of cities and fans alike and puts an at best mediocre product on the field or floor.

So the only reason I want the Panthers or Bobcats to win is to help build the Charlotte brand, if you will. Other than that, both teams are meaningless to me and I know I am not alone.

Charlotte has carefully followed the path to success for a medium-sized American city in the late 20th century and I applaud our success. Yet here we are in the second decade of the 21st century sort of at a crossroads. I sometimes wonder if it's not time for a completely different way of thinking and doing things, especially with regard to pro sports. Maybe we could be a leader in saying that the major league franchise emperors have no clothes.

One other thing: If all pro sports become like MLB, where only wealthy big market teams win championships, why would any sane person pay to see the losers of the small-to-medium markets?

Bread and circuses, much.

wiley said...

Larry,

The left hand at the Observer has no clue as to what the right hand is doing.

I fell out of love with....light rail, the trolley to nowhere, NASCAR Nauseum, Whitewater Center, City Council, County Commission, CCCP and Hugh McColl just to name a few.

Next?

Anonymous said...

"Could Charlotte fall out of love with the Panthers?"

You have a lot of players who are whores for money, they tend not to be in love with their fans.

Over time, the fans get the idea and fall out of love, or become shameless fans of whoever else looks like a winner.

Anonymous said...

It's not a Charlotte team, it's a 2 state Carolina team. I think the numbers and the finances favor a never ending love relationship with the Carolinas. Which other teams can boast more than 15 million loyal fans? Very few can. Maybe San Diego and Chicago. Most populated states have split loyalty multiple teams, so the draw of fans per team is less than ours. Panthers have the only game in town -so to speak- but that will change as soon as Raleigh gets a team. But, for now the Panthers will always have a huge following.

Anonymous said...

Pete,
Just keep to the stories.
Leave the sports to Tommy.
And the whining to Sorenson.

Anonymous said...

FAIR WEATHERED FANS...Charlotte has more than I have ever seen. Get a grip people...back your team and pull for them no matter what.

pstonge said...

Thanks, Anon 8:51, but opinion is part of my gig now. And this is a column about cities and their sports teams - and what happens when complacency starts. What do you think: Are we seeing that beginning now?

Anonymous said...

this article seems like a typical political scare tactic. i don't understand the point of it. a new stadium is probably 20 years away, if even then. shinn was a moron and wanted a new stadium in less than ten years. the jury is still out on how richardson will spend money after the labor situation ends. right now, he is just holding the party line for the sake of the owners. don't write him off yet.

Anonymous said...

I had/have no love of Shinn but he stuck it to Charlotte and is laughing all the way to the bank. He's a sleaze but he basically took his ball and went to another playground. Something is funny about the Panthers and all of the youngsters. It may be as simple as having low bills with an apparent lock out coming next year. Currently, the most exciting thing I expect this season is the mandatory fighter jet flyover tomorrow afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Y E S
.....Richardson's ego and tight wallet will doom us! ....watch how he will take an active role in the lock-out....the mess with John Fox....lets see them bitch for a new stadium now...it will happen soon....I am very down on the Panthers & organization....
amd I got PSL tiks....

Anonymous said...

8:57: Get a grip. If you blindly follow a team without requiring accountability, they'll pick your pocket while you're looking at the cheerleaders. I'm a longtime PSL owner who's getting fed up with paying this team over $50 a game when it's clear they don't care about winning. It's a for-profit industry bent on wringing as much from it's fans for as little as it can. I've had enough blind loyalty. If the Panthers want my support and my money, it's high time they earn it.

perry said...

What great fans the Panthers have in the city of Charlotte. I have psl tickets and drive an hour and a half to the games. You can't win the division evey year. With a lock out coming next year I don't blame JR for holding payroll costs down. Stop whining and support OUR team. Go Panthers

Anonymous said...

"which is a lot like complaining about living in one of the smaller houses on Queens Road West."

Best line I've read in the Observer article in a long time...

Anonymous said...

Let's face it it all boils down to money. A great deal of wealth in this country has been destroyed. It's not do we love the Panthers it's can we afford them!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think this sentiment is a disease. The Panthers are a god-send to this city, state, and region (to your point, much like the Hornets). Will people fall out of love? Maybe. However, there will be some, like myself, who are such avid fans that that even when they move away they get the NFL sunday ticket to ensure they don't miss a down.

You can't group Charlotteans into a group and call them "Charlotte." I grew up in town. I was born at Presbyterian... I went to high school on the south side... I went to college at Appalachian State. I am a home town boy. However, you are posting this article to several transient individuals who are less-than-loyal to NC and/or Charlotte sports.

Would we ask a die-hard Steelers fan to love their team less just because they are in Charlotte? Absolutely NOT. Just like we shouldn't ask our home-town fans to love our team less because they might go TWO STRAIGHT SEASONS without a Playoff Appearance. Come on... Let's be realistic and fair.

Go to a Browns game - see fans who aren't there for the wins or losses but for the GAME. True fans are greated out of adversity and triumph. I look forward to this season and every other...

From Ohio, I celebrate my Panthers every day. I miss my home town and my home team. I had to give up my PSLs when I moved north - so, before condemning the team and/or the fans, think of the other side - there are people OUTSIDE Charlotte who will NEVER fall out of love with the Panthers.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Richardson is very two faced. He loves to see the media when he is winning and the runs like heck when he has to uphold upretty decisions. Those who have been around him know his arrogance and kiss my a.. attitude.
I love to see him out in his golf cart on game days and ask a tough question or two and watch him unlock his brake before Ive even finished!

Anonymous said...

Its a fact amongst the NFL that the Panthers have one of the top 10 best stadiums in the league. As an example, the Cowboys and Colts toured it when building theirs in trying to get ideas. I DID read last week or maybe the week before about the Organization looking at more land, It would be useful to them for parking...every other major stadium I have been too has at least some parking. Also strictly from a investment standpoint it would make sense. They could buy it cheap, leave it as it is for tailgaters and then sell it down the road when things get better.

The other thing about the Stadium is that in order to get a Super Bowl in Charlotte, one of the pre-req's is that the stadium needs to have a roof, retractable would be nice. I know the stadium has the ability to be converted to a done type arena, but at this stage in its life it might be worth building a new one. Hotels\Restaurants and Parking are the other things looked at. We have seen more Hotels in the area, Restaurants as well...just need a Stadium with a roof on it...

Pete, thanks for the article...

pstonge said...

Thanks all for the thoughts on all sides. A reminder to keep it clean in the comments, please. Thanks for the good discussion.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I am a die hard panther fan I have always been one and will always be one no matter were I am when I was in japan to cali to Va now in Fl I will always follow my team and love tha panthers no matter what let's get it done panthers

Anonymous said...

Can we ask the same of the Charlotte Observer? But geez, they haven't gone away yet and I'm still getting annoying telemarketers trying to get me to subscribe.

Anonymous said...

Don't you have to love them first to fall out of love with them? I am an avid NFL fan and the Panthers don't even register on the list of teams that I like or even find generally / consistently competitive. The are like a Triple A club that was brought up to the bigs and are trying to fit in with the big boys. Maybe someday...

Alan said...

I agreed with a lot of the article and as huge Panther fan, I wish there was some more spending. This year the fans are feeling the business side of the NFL and reminding us that money dominates everything. The CBA is effecting Jerry's decision to buy players and I like a guy who can actually go through with getting rid of his own sons for an upgrade. The marketing for the Panthers is as strong as ever due to the popularity of the NFL.

Kelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelli said...

I didn't read this but why would you write this?

Bruce said...

All this will make this Super Bowl season we're just beginning, all the sweeter.

JAT said...

Here's the magic number: One billion dollars.

That is becoming the new benchmark for NFL stadiums. NY and Dallas, and soon SF, with a big public subsidy.

The clock is also ticking on the Georgia Dome, with the Falcons looking to spend around $500m. (they hope) on a new joint.

We've already heard NFL owner laments about the "game day" experience needing to be upgraded to tempt fans away from Direct TV in HD. And in CLT the idea that the stadium is about 10K seats too big has also come up.

You absolutely do hear echoes from Shinn and Hornets if you listen hard enough. I would not be surprised at all by a plan in the next five years to "upfit" and downsize BofA Stadium while grafting on some sort of year-round, revenue generating mall adjacent to the stadium.

But first the Big Cat will have to scratch out a labor deal that "protects" the small mkt. teams (remember Cincy and Buff. voted against the last labor deal) to avoid precisely the MLBing of the NFL so many fans fear.

Oh, and I think this is DeAngelo Williams' last season in Carolina. JR is not going to pay market rate for him -- again shades of Shinn letting Zo walk, which turned fans off big time.

Wylton said...

Interesting article. I'm willing to bet, though, that as we get further into the season, it will grow far less remarkable. The fact that today’s game didn’t sell out until Thursday’s deadline doesn’t mean the sky over The Vault is falling.

Anonymous said...

Reading the title one would assume the Panthers were only a "Charlotte" team yet we know that controvery ended 15 yrs ago when Spartanburg SC owner Jerry Richardson picked the "Carolina" name but did allow the stadium to be built in downtown Charlotte. There were 5 locations being considered including one just over the state line in SC that created ill will with even the SC governor at the time.
The team played at Clemson its first season in 1995 to help mend some differences.

A more correct tile would be:

Could the Carolinas fall out of love ...

Anonymous said...

I think we fell out of love with Pravda. Especially when you devote the front page to lady gaga.

Bruce said...

One of the Anonymouses said:

A more correct tile would be:

Could the Carolinas fall out of love ...

But then people might mistake it for a basketball team.

pstonge said...

Great discussion, all.

JAT: Absolutely, the conversations about the stadium could be about an upfit, not a replacement. The land next door could be used for parking, which generates great revenue for teams like the Cowboys.

For reference, here's the story I mentioned in the column:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/08/23/1636663/new-look-or-new-stadium-for-panthers.html

Anon, 7:29: Yes, the Panthers are definitely the Carolinas team. But when that inevitable request for assistance comes, it will come to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County most of all.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Just ditch the ancient dead white German turned English queen name
(1762 - present )and rename it: "Carolina City" similar to New York City.

This will end controvery and make the city an integral part of both states for professional sports and other purposes. North and South Carolina were originally one state "The Carolinas" (1663-1729) anyway until they split in 1729.

If they re-combine the the 2 Carolina states now there would be 14 million people as the the 4th most popululous in America and wield mucho power.

Daddyx4 said...

RELAX. Good post - you know why? B/c it got people talking and thinking. Good job.

I have lived here all my life and I can tell you that the Panthers (at least today's Panthers) are NOTHING like the Hornets at any point. Right after the initial "love" was gone, there were PLENTY of issues popping up...ones we have been fortunate enough to avoid (mostly - not forgetting Rae Carruth, et al). The NFL is NOT the thug-driven league of the NBA, it doesn't move as frequently for silly reasons (PS: Shinn is hardly "laughing all the way to the bank" as he has lost MILLIONS in New Orleans and is about to lose its biggest star), has an owner who is 1000x better and more respected who actually PLAYED the sport...I could go on.

The CBA issue is looming LARGE. Yes, there have been a FEW teams who have not been afraid to deal with players this year despite the looming and probably lockout. VERY few...one's with LARGE bank accounts and established (as in many more than 10 years) history in the league (i.e., die-hard, loyal fans with family history). Going into this year, as a PSL owner since Day 1, I expected only to compete and hopefully do well enough to possibly hit the playoffs. I think we all know how conservative JR is has always been with his picks/money. The "team" is MUCH more important to JR than any one player (again - NOT the reason that Shinn got "rid" of 'Zo and LJ, etc.). We NEED to rebuild, we NEED to get a number of Free Agents, we NEED (unfortunately) a new coach (NOT because he is bad - he will have 100 offers as soon as he is let go) but because we need a change in direction. With the CBA lockout probably looming, I believe he is just playing it close to the chest. Good move IMO.

Always healthy to debate - that's fine, but fans need to BREATHE. It has been ONE game. We didn't look that bad for the opening game AT the Meadowlands against a team many have picked to be pretty darn good in the NFC. RELAX. If there is anything to "worry" about - it is, unfortunately, the CBA and THAT is out of our hands. Enjoy this year...it may be our only one for a couple of years.

Ghoul said...

Charlotte fell out of love with the Observer's marxist stance years ago, Peter have you noticed the subscription numbers? Should be easy now, you can use your fingers.

Brian said...

Peter,
I will not even lower myself to read this article. It is reporters like you who have killed the news industry. All you preach is doom and gloom. You can't pick up a paper without seeing something about the end of the world. Just because we lose 1 game you think Charlotte is going to fall out of love with it's team? How long have you lived here? We lost the hornets because Shinn was sleeping around with some hooker. Please find sone NEWS to write about and stop trying to stir up trouble so people will read your articles. I for one never have and never will!

Anonymous said...

When the owner does not spend money to give the team the best opportunity to win....why should I spend my money to see a half-baked product? Percentage wise, it costs more of my annual income to go to a game than it costs Jerry to buy some free agent talent. Then, he floats the idea of a new stadium. Is he the obama of the NFL?

Anonymous said...

What a sorry excuse for journalism. This is embarrassing. However, it is so Charlotte Observer. Wonder why people don't pay for your product any more?

Anonymous said...

Boy, if the Observer ONLY had competition.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave said...

Out of love? Already happened. The product on the field is boring and not worth any of my time.

Anonymous said...

"Peter

September 19, 2010 7:59 AM"


Actually NC taxpayers gave 50 million for road contruction around the stadium and PSLs bought it lock stock and barrell.

Where was the cost to Mecklenburg? Forget the billions and name contributed to the economy and growth etc.
America didnt neve know where Charlotte NC was before the Panthers although it was birthed out of the success of Shinns NBA Hornets.

Are you on crack?

pstonge said...

Anon, 8:56:

The breakdown on which taxpayers paid what is this: Charlotte and Mecklenburg paid about $50 million, and the state of North Carolina paid $9 million.

Peter

Andrew said...

I am in the process of buying a second set of PSL's. I am having second thoughts wondering what will happen to the value of these if they build a new stadium. If this happens, I figure the most likely option will be first chance to buy the "new PSL's" at full price. Does it make sense to buy PSL's if they will be worthless in 10 years?

Anonymous said...

I've been a PSL owner since Clemson...have NEVER missed a Panthers home opener, but sold my tickets for todays game. Why? I have many of the same thoughts shared in this article. The Panthers passed on free agents that could have helped this team for the price of a song. Why should I care to support this team this season if the ownership of the Panthers doesn't show any more support for the fans to put a winning product on the field?

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with the stadium they have. Players, Coaches and owners need to get used to less. The salaries they are paid are way beyond ridiculous. Team Owners don't really deserve squat. If the Charlotte Region didn't have the population necessary to pull a successful Franchise off, I'm sure the team would be elsewhere. The race to keep building the best new stadium needs to end and start with renovation to the one the community and ticket owners helped pay for.

Anonymous said...

Professional sports teams are avatars of their fans. When the team wins, the fans win. When the team loses, the fans lose.

Hope keeps the fans coming in the inevitable down years, hope that the team (and fans) will be winners next year or the year after.

Hornets' fans lost hope when Shinn didn't pay the tab for Alonzo; Shinn showed his hand, and it was flush with hopelessness.

Richardson has spent a lot of money trying to bring a winner to Morehead St., and that is why hope lives on in the Panthers fans' heart. You cannot look at preparations for next year and divine that Richardson has now become Shinn.

The fans are tired of Fox's brand of football: its boring, and it isn't bringing more than a mediocre winning percentage. The fans want a real quarterback, a team that discovers the forward pass, an offense that can strike like lightning and make people jump up out of their seats and cheer!!

If Richardson responds to the fans and brings such a team, it shows he is still trying to bring a winner and hope will survive.

Anonymous said...

I am a PSL holder and I have been a fan from the beginning. What Richer-son has done this year is bad for the City and all of us Fans.

For him to talk about revenue being down is idiotic! We have PSLs here so we have to buy the tickets regardless of how we feel about management. We are sold out each week. Unlike other cities where the fans can protest stupid moves we are forced to buy tickets.

Jerry should appologize to the Fans that support the Panthers. You may have got them here but WE are the reason why they can stay here. DON'T FORGET THAT JERRRY!

Anonymous said...

one of the worst teams in the NFL, they are lame lame just like stale Dale Jr. they both should give it up !! the Panthers are a waste of money!!

Nick G said...

"Anonymous said...

FAIR WEATHERED FANS...Charlotte has more than I have ever seen. Get a grip people...back your team and pull for them no matter what."

You must have been a Cleveland Browns fan before you moved to Charlotte, huh?

Anonymous said...

"When the owner does not spend money to give the team the best opportunity to win....why should I spend my money to see a half-baked product? "

What a joke. This whiny idiot has probably never bought a ticket in his life. So paying Peppers a million a game was not spending money? FOOL !!

Anonymous said...

St Onge needs to run for political office pulling figs out of the air. We know figs dont lie but liars can fig.

Where is your proof? Provide a legit link from Raleigh along with the exact figs on record in Meck.

Notwithstanding the city fought a hard battle to win the stadium. Bruton Smith wanted it inside his racetrack and was willing to pay it all. SC wanted it at Carowinds and would have paid all the bill among others.

What the hell is your baseless point? You have no valid argument here.

Anonymous said...

There will always be good seasons and bad seasons for all NFL teams. There will always be new stadiums replacing older stadiums and consideining that the average lifespan of a stadium is 30-40 years, these questions need to be asked today about our 15 year old stadium. Ther will also always be hater, especially in Charlotte, who desipse how Charlotte has become more urban and cosmopolitan and will constantly root for the failure at every turn. so what else is new?

Richardson was, is, and always will be the anti-Shinn. This is the owner who was not afraid to think big and sign key players every year, and make every effort to make the Panthers a winner. Have y'all already forgotten that thie is the same owner that put together the pieces that brought us one game short of two Superbowls and into one Superbowl within the first 10 years of the team's existance?

I beliwve Jerry richardson knows exactly what he's doing and will be considered a genius again over the next couple years. beating tampa bay would put some minds at ease today indeed, and if they do, I'm sure many of the haters here will be jumping on the bandwagon acting like they supported the team all along. Of course, a small few will still root for failure, but you can only do so much for a grinch.

Vicksburg said...

I still think the bulk of Clt folks (here before 1990) could care less if there was a pro team of any type in town..(unless they are downtown land owners)...because of all the hidden costs (land/crime/traffic/etc)..especially not with the proven track record of needing a new gazzillion $$ stadium every 10 years. There is no extra money or ability to finance on this low priority luxury any more. Times have changed.

Anonymous said...

I doubt it. Although I think the decision to ban smoking was bogus. Come on Jerry it's an open air staduim. Dont't allow the PC crowd to control everything.

Larry said...

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/08/23/1636663/new-look-or-new-stadium-for-panthers.html#storylink=omni_popular

Hi Peter:

The above link is which Steve Harrison asked if we would be interested in funding a new stadium and the like. I answered that I felt the Richardsons had been fair and we should keep an open mind in the discussion.

Sorry you missed that one in your paper.

pstonge said...

Larry,

I didn't miss that. I mentioned it in this column and linked to it earlier. Steve Harrison didn't do what you said.

Peter

Anonymous said...

What is up with the observer. Come on now. This guy doesnt even know what a football is. And the observer keeps bashing the panthers. Just leave them out of the stories if you cant support them. People in Charlotte love the panthers and are just hoping that we dont waste our teams talents on washed up qb's and tired offensive schemes run run pass or draw.

Anonymous said...

The "Charlotte Region" didnt have the numbers? You got that backwards. It was Charlotte who didnt have the numbers. It was the 100 mile radius "Charlotte Region" calculated by Max Muhlman that sealed the pro sports deals with a 50 million population within a 100 mile radious of Charlotte although there are prob 75 million now.

With American cities spreading most of their populations to the suburbs for decades this Max Muhlman strategy has become the new norm for all pro sports franchises allowing mid sized cities like Orlando, Jacksonville, Memphis, Nashville, Utah, Portland, Charlotte, and others to obtain pro sports teams.

Some of these idiots need to lay off Shinn. Get a life. He and he alone got the NBA here and this led to the NFL and AAA baseball. The rest is history. He was run off but def laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Peter's on to it. 2 weeks ago, in the Observer's Sunday paper, the article about Richardson and the player's union - it was stated the players / owners argue over how the split it the 8 billion in annual NFL revenue. Seems both sides have taken the revenue for granted - fans be damned (they are entitled to the revenue - sounds like Washingting and taxes) and when that happens the wheels come off and fans go away (and the tea party??) - just ask the Hornets, I mean the Bobcats - who were those guys anyway - NBA is history in CLT.

Anonymous said...

Shut up I'll always love them

Anonymous said...

Bump all that ish!

Anonymous said...

"You have a lot of players who are whores for money, they tend not to be in love with their fans."

The NFL is a business. Like every other professional team. Very few players stay with a single team their entire career.

Paul said...

Selling my tickets this year and seat license after the season. I've always been a solid fan but I just wont pay $2000 per season anymore... just not worth it to see a year after year, mediocre team at best

Anonymous said...

Im stationed over seas and a die hard Panther fan Win or Loose, you wouldnt ask these Q's of a cowboy or greenbay fan over here (you might get shot). Anybody got PSL FOR SALE, IM COMING HOME SOON!

MikeyNINER said...

I will always bleed black and blue. The Panthers are my team, and I will follow them in the good times and the bad. That is what being a sports fan is about. The game today was painful to watch, but I watched it because I am a Panthers fan. The bad times only make the good times so much better. Our fairweather fans bother me more than our crappy football team.

Ted McDonnell said...

Anonymous 9-18-10 11:18 a.m. said... [It was the 100 mile radius "Charlotte Region" calculated by Max Muhlman that sealed the pro sports deals with a 50 million population within a 100 mile radious of Charlotte although there are prob 75 million now.]

Wait, what? I think you've tagged on several extra zeroes to those figures. There aren't but about 15 million folks in all of North and South Carolina combined.

Anonymous said...

You mean fall out of love with John Fox??

TOOO late!

Evan said...

"FAIR WEATHERED FANS...Charlotte has more than I have ever seen. Get a grip people...back your team and pull for them no matter what." -Anonymous

So basically you want us to purchase an inferior product for an inflated price? You, my friend, are as much a problem as the owner/management. If there were zero people in the stands management would notice. If we as fans are enablers then we are just as much to blame. I love the Panthers and I will watch every second of every game, every year. When they put an inferior product on the field I will not "buy" the Panthers. I will not go to a game and I will not buy merchandise. They will not make money off of me while they ruin my Sundays.

dar456 said...

good article but its a shame it got lost to all the political BS and hatred surrounding the CO.

i for one am getting very sick of seeing the mediocre product that has become carolina panther football. the players dont seem motivated, the coach acts like he has something better he could be doing and we the fans get stuck with the bill. ive made it to at least 1 game every season sometimes 5-6 games a year but its no longer a priority for me any longer. ive walked out of BOA stadium with the mindset that i just wasted another sunday afternoon and another $200 so many times its not even funny anymore. plain and simple the product on the field is no longer worth the price and until that changes the panthers will continue to lose lifelong fans like myself.

Anonymous said...

Wait, what? I think you've tagged on several extra zeroes to those figures. There aren't but about 15 million folks in all of North and South Carolina combined.

September 20, 2010 10:15 AM


Call Max Muhlman Marketing. The NBA and NFL were sold on his marketing strategy.

If you take a 360 degree 100 minimum to 150 maximum mile radius you cross into 5 states with NC, SC, VA, TN, GA 50 million population and prob 75 million in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Richardson is prob even more sick of all these mediocre sunshine fans who do nothing but bitch and whine but they bitched and whined about Shinn not spending money and ran him off. They ran off all the decent QBs starting with Collins, Weinke and Delhome. Never ends.

JR is living on borrowed time anyway with his new used heart and when he dies his sons will def move on to more money in LA, Vegas or maybe even Raleigh or Columbia and then fans can be happy they wont have to bitch and whine about those damn losing Panthers anymore.

mcap said...

"If you take a 360 degree 100 minimum to 150 maximum mile radius you cross into 5 states with NC, SC, VA, TN, GA 50 million population and prob 75 million in 2010."

The combined population numbers of the 5 states you mentioned is 37.6 million.

Your numbers are still pretty far off.

They also make the assumption that TN and GA fall within the Panthers fan territory, when both states have teams of their own.

I'm happy for Max. He's made tons of money by being a lapdog for pro sports, but the numbers are baloney.

Anonymous said...

Leave the sports to Tommy? Tommy who? The Observer Sports Dept. has Scott, Tom, Ron, David, etc. No Tommy.

Great job Peter. You nailed it. More needs to be written about how Jerry Richardson has been focused on this labor situation at the expense of his team. Field basically what has become a team of inexperienced, low salaried players and at he same time raise ticket prices. Great marketing strategy JR. I gave up my PSLs rather than pay the increase. I have no problem with an increase just not when your gutting the roster to prepare for labor issues. Bad move.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

IF YOU'RE A TRUE FAN YOU DON'T FALL OUT OF LOVE WITH THE PANTHERS. ALL YOU YANKEE TRANSPLANTS COULD POSSIBLY "FALL OUT OF LOVE" B/C IT'S NOT THE TRENDY TEAM TO PULL FOR.

TRUE BLUE CAROLINA FANS SAY YEAAH!! WE'RE WITH THEM THROUGH THE THICK, THE THIN, AND THE THINNER.

Anonymous said...

Peter I wanna like you b/c your wife was my professor at UNCC and she's cool but this article is not.

Anonymous said...

Eastland Mall went kaput, The Hornets up and disappeared in the middle of the night, and now there is talk of The Panthers not being the darlings of The Carolinas any longer...What is this world coming to when everything that made Charlotte a great place to visit or live near at one time or another has vanished into thin air? I hope The Panthers can still pull it out. I have been pulling for Matt Moore for a long time now and even he seems to have a black cloud hanging over his head...Maybe Jimmy Clausen will be the Saviour that nether Matt nor Jake could be...

Anonymous said...

"Fall out in love" is a moronic simplistic uneducated comment concerning a sports team obviously coming from an individual with low IQ and inferior intellect.

Anonymous said...

Agree St Onge probably got a matchbook diploma.