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On Frozen Tundra

GmanwildYou know you're in for a rough day when on approach, the flight attendant announces the following: "Well, folks, good news in Minneapolis. It appears to be warming up. It's now minus-2 degrees. Welcome to the Twin Cities."

I honestly think she was serious because some folks on my flight -- the ones wearing the Gophers caps -- chuckled and nodded as if there was some silly inside joke and they were the only ones in on it.

Well, memo to them: It's COLD out here! I'm serious. I was so cold today, one of the local writers up here told me he just had to take my picture. Because I needed something for the blog, I let him take his precious picture.

I don't know why a Minnesota hockey writer would be at a Panthers practice on an off day. Maybe he covered the team in the past or something? Anyway, Mike R., thanks for playing the role of photog today. And before you ask, that's not my hat. It belongs to our friend Brian X from Palm Beach.

"This is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh? Oh, but it looks good on you though!" Rodney


And now,

THE NEWS: Juraj Kolnik had to be sent back to South Florida after last night's game. He got smacked in the face with a stick and had to have stitches. He went home to have oral (not Orel Hershisher) surgery because JM says he had some teeth broken. Yuck. PS: JM still ticked no penalty called on Kolnik's stick to the face.

-- Jozef Stumpel didn't practice today and may not play Thursday against the Wild. He looked to lose his balance after getting hit with a puck and landed awkwardly on his already sore shoulder. Said he also banged up some ribs.

-- Eddie Belfour usually doesn't practice on the day after a game. He did today. The whole team -- with exception of boys listed above -- was out there today after last night's humbling loss. Belfour back in net tomorrow.

-- Interesting note from The New York Times: When the Panthers beat the Devils at CSA on Jan. 27, a grand total of 736 households (rating number: 0.01) in the mammoth New York market tuned in on MSG. The available households in the market: 7.4 million. According to the report, over 2,000 homes tuned in on Florida's FSN while the arena announced a crowd of 18,136.


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that sure is an interesting stat. do you know what FSN Florida's ratings were for that game George?

we almost tripled MSG's ratings despite it being a homegame? you'd have to figure a good number of people who were at the game would have watched on TV had it been in New Jersey.....

who says people don't care about hockey down here? we should send this tidbit to Damien Cox and see what he says...

Let's get real! Who cares if FSN's ratings were better than MSG? 2,000 households in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market is still microscopic. And an announced crowd of 18,136 means around 15,500 in attendance for a Saturday night game against one of the best teams in the NHL in the middle of the tourist season when presumably a lot of people would want to come out & see their "home" team. Speaking of which, how many of those in attendance do you think actually paid full price for their tickets, as opposed to cashing in their ticket coupons that they got at Quarter Deck or Miami Subs, & how many of those "fans" will come back & buy tickets without a coupon to see a team other than their "home" team?

first of all - i was at the game and the announced crowd was accurate. there were very little empty seats in any section. the upper deck was entirely full aside from the last two rows in the goal zone.

secondly - maybe 2,000 is microscopic in the miami market, but as you saw by the numbers george provided, it is impressive compared to some other nhl markets. hell, i've seen some nba markets worse than that. add to the fact that a good number of the 18,136 would have tuned in as well and you have a much higher number than 2,000.

thirdly - you act as if the panthers are the only team in professional sports that offer giveaways. let me tell you something - they're not. its a way of marketing their sport, especially a sport like hockey that is not exactly a "traditional" sport. yes, some people abuse the giveaway but the tickets they offer are limited, and payed for by their sponsors. so either way you look at it - the tickets are being payed for. does it really matter to them if you are paying for it or miami subs is? i doubt it.

keep digging, maybe eventually you'll hit something.

Hi alex;

I was at the game also (I've been a season ticket holer since day 1- I even gave money to John Henry when he was trying to get a team), & a lot of the club & upstairs were empty. We may disagree as to the exact number of people at the game, but at least in my mind there were more than 1,100 empty seats (ODC seats 19,250 for hockey).

The actual attendance as opposed to tickets distributed is a league wide problem, but it's much more pronounced for the Panthers. Even Yormack has acknowleged that somewhere in the range of 66% to 75% of season ticket holders use their tickets for any particular game. Giving tickets away alienates the season ticket base (why buy tickets if you can get them for free, or a greatly reduced price, plus you don't have to worry about figuring out what to do with those tickets for another Tuesday night game against Carolina) & doesn't create any long term fan base for the Panthers. Just go to a game against the Rangers, Toronto or Montreal. There is a nice crowd, but if you're a Panther fan, it's like going to an away game. From management's standpoint, they would rather give away the seats & still get revenue from overpriced beer & hot dogs, but as a long term plan for building a fan base it's a non-starter.

The point of the NYT article was how poorly the Devils TV rating are. While to some extent misery enjoys company, there is no way to sugercoat the fact that the Panthers TV ratings on FSN are awful. A few weeks ago there was a piece in the Sun-Sentinel (hopefully my post still gets through after mentioning a competitor) that overall the panther broadcasts have a .2 share. Considering that around 1/2 of the broadcasts are of away games, so if you're a Panther fan & want to see the game you have to watch, & the numbers are truly depressing. Again, this is a leaguewide problem (take a look at the ratings on Verses & NBC), but the Panthers don't match up well ratings wise against other teams local broadcasts.

i'm a season ticket holder as well. the attendance numbers they give are relativley accurate. they may not be 100% but they are close enough. in prior seasons that never held true, but the last two years it has.

the entire lower bowl was full and the upper bowl looked to be around 90% capacity. there are sporadic empty seats at any game in any arena. watch a game in dallas or detroit. they sell out every game but half the arena looks empty (even moreso than it does here).

as far as the giveaways....some of what you say is correct but like i said before, the reason it is done is to market the sport. every team does it. ripping the panthers for it is silly.

tv ratings - true, their numbers arent good by any stretch (and from what i remember, they aren't a .2, but i'll take your word i guess...) but they aren't dismal when compared to some other markets. theyre closer to being middle-of-the-pack in both attendance and TV than they are dead last. that's nothing to brag about in ordinary cirumstances. but the panthers aren't ordinary. they are terrible. they have been terrible for the last decade and despite that they still get supported REASONABLY well. teams such as st.louis, chicago and the islanders haven't gone through half the torture we have and their numbers are much, MUCH worse. hell, the devils have been one of the most dominant franchises in the game and even they can't outdraw the panthers.

look - i'm not saying the panthers are a powerhouse. they clearly are not. they're a distand fourth in this town right now. but they aren't buried by any stretch. they should be buried, but they aren't. a couple of winning seasons and they're right back on the radar. they have a loyal following (anyone remaining at this point is loyal... bordering on masochist). if they win, the typical bandwagon will hop on and you'll have a solid following all around. alot of northerners assume this market to be a problem market and it isn't. that's my point.

Hey Dave,
You don't know how good you have it. Atleast you can go to hockey games. In Toronto, there is a long waiting list for season ticket holders that can take years to get. and I if you want single game tickets you have to get them the minute they go on sale for ridiculous prices and the cap you at a maximum of 8 tickets total for the whole season. I was on Ticketmaster.com the minute tickets went on pre-sale (I signed up for the Maple leaf newsletter just to get the presale password) got my 4 tickets for the 1st panther - leaf game and then the next game sold out. So I ordered my tickets for the next game on the regular sale date, i could only get 2 tickets and they were not even sitting next to eachother.

The fans in Toronto suck, most of them are in suits because they are the only ones that can afford seats.

Be happy that you have a team that you can afford to get season tickets with. Florida is not leaving the league anytime soon and the only reason their attendance and money situation sucks is because the have only successfully made it to the playoffs 3 times in 13 years.

The same thing happened to the Blue Jays. After their world Series and the strike the attendance started to get really low for years. Most people in this city gave up before the season started because we are in the toughest division in sports history (the Yankees and Red Sox)Now we finally have stable ownership that is committing significant money to significant players and the Attendance is slowly rising.(the Panthers should have kept Luongo for this very reason)

One more thing to add is that the Panthers have very good coverage, better than I have seen from any other NHL team south of Philidelphia. They wouldn't cover so many games if it wasn't beneficial to them.

Be happy with what you have!!!
I would much rather be watching Panther games live.

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