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Drive to a Freebie


The Panthers new marketing ploy, one in which they give away tickets to anyone with a Florida's driver's license (and even those who don't), has been picked up by some national bloggers.

My early take: This is a good way to see the Wings without forking over that extra $25.

Or anything, for that matter.

Anyway, here's what folks are saying about it. PuckDaddy looks at the situation as a marketing ploy by the Panthers moreso than just a way to fill the building. James Mirtle thinks its just more of the same in SoFla.

Me? Whatever. The Panthers are trying to grow their brand down here, although winning will go a long ways toward that. I like that the marketing around the rink is more hockey-centric, and small things (like putting the words: Florida Panthers; on the scoreboard) is a good start. An out-of-town scoreboard would also be nice.

I still say the Panthers need to do more to grow hockey. Show other games on the many TVs in the concourse during the game; play old Panther games on the scoreboard during pregame; get more involved with the youth leagues outside of Incredible Ice (which they own).

Look at Dallas; the Stars helped build rinks throughout the MetroPlex knowing kids who grew up playing hockey would be season ticket holders 20 years later when they could afford it. Seems like the Panthers are selling their wares to the same group of people year after year.

And Saturday night, a stack of about 100 free ticket vouchers to Saturday's opener remained unused at the hostess stand at Quarterdeck. Listen, if you're going to leave those tickets there, at least ask the bartenders and servers to actually offer them to customers. Maybe then, someone would use them.


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They act like this is the first time that they have given away tickets before by using a drivers liscense. The sad part is that they only played 1 game and started doing this already. As a season ticket holder since the 2nd season it actually makes me sick to look at all the free tickets they give out time and time again. I am a NHL fan and love the sport and that is why I go to the games (every game). The product has been bad for years and that they can't hide. What is funny is that I actually had a discussion with someone inside the organization and my question was this. When will the FREE tickets start? I will tell you and every employee there, once they raise the price of my cheap seats, I will be the one getting the free tickets. This promotion just shows how desperate they are so early in the season.


Just win, and all of your problems will be solved in short order. Don't believe me? Look at this photo:


It was taken last November in Washington as the Panthers beat the Caps in an 11 round shootout. I bet there weren't 2000 people in there.

They started winning, and by the end of the season, you couldn't get tickets to a game...

The biggest thing they did in Dallas was put a winning product out on the ice consistently. Dallas also is a mecca for many corporations due to its central location. They sell a ton of corporate seats.

Is this the same VanMurph that sucks up to the organization with commercials and blogs? You are missing the point VanMurph. They have been giving away free tickets since day 1 and every year they say that they want new fans. The same excuses every single season. After so many years of free ticket give aways, when are they going to get the hint? Trust me when I tell you this, this free ticket give away is just the start of it. Soon, you will eat a burger and get a free ticket, test drive a car and get a free ticket, buy a 12 pack of soda and get a free ticket, open a checking acccount and get a free ticket and maybe just maybe one day you will get a free ticket by showing a drivers license (oh they did that one already once a few years ago). Hint to Panthers, let your team play more then one home game before deciding to screw your season ticket holders with free tickets.

Murph, I love that picture so much, and I must answer it back.

In a never before released picture to the public, one man traveled deep into Capital territory. These photographs you are about to see are gruesome, and may scare young children, cats, and/or dogs. User discretion is advised.


Ghasp! A Capital sellout!

Wow there is a reason I never showed that picture... terrible quality lol.

Andy and Murph are both right.

1) You cannot buy fans, which is why the giveaways are stupid and de-value season tickets.

2) Only a constant winning product on the ice will bring the bandwagon South Florida fans to the arena, which will then stop all the giveaways.

Bottom line is if they win then EVERYONE is happy.

Win baby win!

I don't know if I'd call it sucking up. The Panthers called to ask me if I'd be in a commercial. What was I gonna say, No? Same thing with the blog (which you've obviously read, so thank you), they called me and asked me if I'd write one for them. Again, like I'm gonna say No? This is my favorite team in all of sports. If your favorite team asked you, a regular fan, to do those things, would you be a suck-up?

I don't care what they give away. I pay for my seats because I love hockey, and this is my team. If they have to give away seats, so what? I pay up front because I like to know exactly where I'm going to be every night of the season, and I enjoy sitting beside good friends.

Once they start winning, you won't be able to find inexpensive tickets, much less free ones. It happened in Washington, and it'll happen here.

Van Murph, u should just work for them, this team will give free tickets away forever. Did you forget at one time they did win? Where did all those people go? This organization is all about ad's and making money and could care less about anything else. The franchise is the worst in sports, that is correct, the worst. Again, I am a PAYING CUSTOMER since year 2 and love the NHL more then you can imagine (fly to the flyers games as well) and this is as far as a NON NHL city as you can imagine. By, the way before I forget to tell you, I have not read your blog, just saw the AD on it on the website. I understand that you have an agenda now that you do commercials and blogs to say the correct things and NOT rip the team. Let me take care of that part. I can promise you one thing, I will never be asked to do a commercial or write a blog because I am not a yes man. Maybe a playoff home game more then one time in a decade will change things, however, I think you know deep down inside that it will not. What we have now is what we will always have, a few fans like us and a ton of free loaders. In closing, if you are going to continue to do blogs and if you want people to read it then be honest and RIP them if needed.

Dude, not only am I a Panthers fan, I'm a Dolphins fan. I can't help it. They're right around the corner from my house. I'd love to be able to pull for a winner, but until the Panthers and Dolphins start winning, I'll just have to go on taking the abuse.

I don't get the personal attacks. We're two fans of the same team, we just see things from a different perspective. We both want the same thing, which is a winning hockey team. I'm not a yes-man, I just don't feel the need to get down on my team. What good would it possibly do? Sure, I was frustrated last season, but rather than get mad about it, I just went fishin' for 6 months while I waited for the this season to start.

And just so we're clear on this point, I've not changed anything about the way I approach this team just because they put me in a commercial. THEY ASKED ME TO BE IN THE COMMERCIAL BECAUSE THEY SAW HOW EXCITED I GOT AT GAMES AND THEY KNEW THAT NO MATTER WHAT, I TRY TO STAY POSITIVE ABOUT THINGS. My only "agenda" is to be a fan of this team, period. I love watching these guys play hockey the same way die-hard fans of the Kansas City Royals love watching their team. They may not be the best in the business (or they may actually be the worst), but they keep showing up, because what else are they gonna do?

I sympathize with you. You've been a fan down here for a long time and you've only seen a few successful years (a long time ago). I just moved here in 2000. But I think the product on the ice this season is worth getting excited about, and I'm gonna keep on showing up because what else am I gonna do?

All they have to do is WIN, PERIOD. They win, they'll have fans.

G.R., McLovin does not have a Florida license! No Panthers games for him.


The fact that you don't care whether they give away tickets or not does not change the fact that when you give as many tickets away as the Panthers, it punishes PAYING customers. Maybe you don't realize it since you sit in the lower bowl. Imagine if you had a different person seeing the game for free sitting next to you every game. You're telling me you wouldn't care? WE pay 1000's of dollars to OUR team, they pay nothing. Be a homer as much as you want, I have no problem with your fandom, but don't let it cloud your judgement.

I have been a season ticket holder since the day they started taking orders, part of the 203 Brew Crew, at the Miami Arena which is before VanMurph's time all the games sold out, why because the team worked hard and the hard work paid off with wins, the players actually met up with fans at the Sports Ticket after games to celebrate the victories and talk about the losses.

Andy is correct, the organization's only concern is making revenue for the arena, the hockey team has been an afterthought since Cohen bought the team and especially since Yormark began running the team.

Limited Partners Jordan Zimmerman and Dr. Richard Lehman became limited partners in the new ownership group in Tampa (they are still limited partners with the Panthers).

If Cohen was really interested in winning and not the bottom line he would of had these two gentleman bought out.

Like Andy I am a big fan of hockey and it is frustrating to watch players act as if they are on a winter vaction when they are on the ice (hopefully this will change this year).

As far as free tickets I look at it as once the game is over you can't recoup the money for that seat anyway.

But the real reason for Yormark giving the free seats goes back to the goal of the ownership group and that is to make revenues on the building. By giving away free seats they will sell more concessions where the profit margin is much higher than in ticket sales for the team.

I'm from Florida and I am McLovin!


maybe your next blog will get people worked up? This one did not!! LOL

Andy, you are so far off on your personal assault on VM, not even close. VM is his OWN MAN, he hasnt gotten a thing other than his notoriety for being in the commercials, ads, and blogs. And if he decides not to Rip the team in his blog, thats his choice. He and I have had many a discussion in the last 2 years about what is right and wrong with the team. And trust me HE GETS IT! But in a public forum that is not discussion based (as opposed to say the message boards where you have a chance to repsond) there is no point in ripping the team. Many a time on the BB Murph has posted about a players poor judgement, bad penalty, etc. Its open for discussion so its a trade of ideas, rather than a preach to the choir.

Join the boards (as I think you recently did) and you will see.

I too am on original "93'r" with the Panthers and trust me, For all my years of buying tickets and being a STH I have poured enough $$$$$ into the Org that I could problably afford a fancy new Lexus had I "not been such an addict". Still I wouldnt ask for any of it back (well maybe the 5th season).

I dont like the mass amount of freebies but nothing will put paying butts in the seats more than winning. Also many of the seats are only free to the end consumer. Alot of them are payed for in trade with a corporation who then gives them out to their customers. (ie: the Miami Subs vouchers of previous seasons.)

Where are the people who sold out the Miami Arena (14,702) well a good 8-10,000 of them are still there on hockey nights, problem is its now a near 20,000 seat arena so rather than 3/4 full its closer to half empty.

Most of us who take the time to comment in GR's blog do want the same thing, a winning team with a real shot at making noise come playoff time. However some want to take a positive approach, while other prefer the negative nelly stance. Still all of us want to root for a winner.


I did not recently join the boards so lets get that out of the way. I am not taking personal shots of your buddy, I would like you to answer a question for me please. What was the last positive thing that this organization has accomplished? That is all I am saying, they beat a horrible Atlanta team and all of a sudden the free tickets start flowing. I get your points and understand them. I am sooooo tired of years and years of the same BS. Also, there is also not a single bit of pressure on this team, if they lose they lose, making a playoff appearence is a goal for this team when all other teams goals is to lift a cup. Wow, if we make it in the 8th spot will there be a parade in the sawgrass parking lot? That is what this has come down to. lets make the playoffs and everything will be ok.

I blame this all on McLovin!!! Tough room!:)

What has this team accomplished? Well, for starters, we went out and aquired a top 5 goaltender in Vokoun before last season, and a backup goaltender who made NHL history in Anderson.We also went out this offseason and aquired some great players in Boynton,Ballard,and McCabe to give us top 5 defense in the league, so that's always a positive accomplishment, no? What about Deboer? Although only 2 games into the season, I've seen harder working players and more offense this season then I have the past few seasons. We don't sit back anymore, so thats an Accomplishment right?
Yes, this team is usually never short on disapointment, but we started 1-1 right now,which is better than last season, and I think they look great. Our biggest complaint was whether we'd have the offensive power to be competitive in this league or not, and well we had 4 goals in the first game, and then 3 in the second game, so it doesn't seem like scoring goals will be such a big deal after all if we continue the aggressive forechecking.

As far as free tickets, I am a STH as well, and been a fan since day 1, but I don't look at it as a negative thing, more as positive. Many people down here don't go to games because they simply don't know anything about hockey except for fighting. So when you give away free tickets, yes it looks bad especially after the 1st home game, but you're bringing in new people, letting them experience hockey, learning about the game, the excitement, the music, just the atmosphere all together and hoping they become diehard fans like so many of us are already!

Also, I am jealous of VanMurph, because this man is recognized by my favorite team as well, and he got to drop the puck on opening night and he does blogs for the website and is in a commercial showing his passion for the game. I mean honestly, how many fans get to do that? How many fans get a chance to be a real part of their favorite sports team??

As a common poster on this blog, its nice to see passion of any kind. I just hope it doesnt deteriorate to teh name calling like on the Sentinnel board.
And as 13 yr club seat holder, i dont mind the occasional freebies, but as others have posted its not the answer. Winning is. The arena sold out the first 2 years up here and will sellout or close to sellout when the team does well.

As i said, "doesnt matter", we have had many years of promises, many years of dissapointment; when the moves translates to a playoff spot we will be believers. And giving away tickets to a losing atmosphere will cause NO ONE to come back...its not the ice capades.


Hey doesn't matter

Very optomistic after 2 games, do you work for the Panthers? You named very good things that has happened in the past 12 months, however, I will say this to you, this has nothing to do with players and coaches yet this has to do with OWNERSHIP, it stinks and what makes you think this year will be any different then any other year, free tickets every single season, when will the NHL and Florida Panthers realize that there is not enough people down here that care. Also, I want to ask you this? Will you be satisfied with the 8th spot and making the playoffs? If so then you are rooting for the correct team, try selling that theory to any other NHL market. Like I said before, teams want to win the cup and we want to make the playoffs, big difference.

Thanks for seeing it like it is when it comes to me. I appreciate it. You hit it squarely on the head. I am just a guy who loves the team and who tries to stay positive about them. You're also right about what I've been given to participate in the commercials and the blog: nothing. But, to be completely open about it, I didn't ask for anything either. Like I said, I was just thrilled to be asked to do something for my favorite team.

I appreciate where you're coming from. In all honesty, I would probably be pretty perturbed if there was a different freebie sitting next to me every single night (but I'd be angrier if the same freebie came back multiple times without paying). But in all sincerity, what would I be able to do about it? Complain? Attempt to get a refund? I learned a long time ago to try not to sweat the stuff I can't change. I have NO answers for the freebie situation. I even had bonus tickets last season that went unused. You wanna hear the kicker? My rep actually got my friend two seats NEAR THE GLASS using my bonus tickets. Guess what, he didn't show up!

I can only imagine how easy the sales staff's job would be if the Panthers could just win...

Listen kids, first off, if this thing does turn into a name-calling contest (which it hasn't) posts will be deleted. But I do think this is good banter. People are venting, Good for you. My take: I don't think them giving away tickets with a driver's license is too big a deal. I think they've done this before, only not at as big a scale as this. I have a lot of friends who had never gone to a hockey game before, but once they went, they return. Including family, I knew of over a dozen people who were there (bought their own tix PS) on Saturday and are looking forward to going again this Saturday. So, sometimes this "go and get hooked" does work. Hockey is a great sport, and this Panther team does seem entertaining (although the play Saturday was slow at times). Winning will most definitely help down here, because don't forget, it wasn't too long ago tickets were hard to get. Not only in Miami, but Sunrise too.

Meow. There, does that change the topic here?

Andy, If you have not joined the boards you should. You have a reasonably well written opinon, and even if we disagree, its worthy of discussion.

As far as IMO what has the team recently accomplished. Well we are only two games into the season and we won our last one. So until tomorrow night I am still on a high. The one that a win brings on.

In the offseason the Organization brought in one of the most highly sought after coaches, landed 3 stud defenseman to go with a solid young core group. You know the rest.

As a Panther lifer I have been asked numerous times in the last weeks, what do I expect. I tell em it may soar like a jet or crash like the HINDENBURGH, I am not sure which one yet. I do know that after all the years of living on "promise" a lot of the kids we have drafted are ready to lead. IMHO it is now time for the patience some of us have displayed to pay off.

I truly belive PdB is finally the right coach at the right time for this team. I firmly believe that JM is now in the right position to help this team further. And I believe that Cohen and Co. are truly committed to building this team into a winner. Now its up to the players to do their job, and its up to the Indian witch doctor to remeove the curse over the BAC so that we are not decimated by the freak injury bug like in years past. With these things in place, I expect the future to be very bright!

As far as managgment, what they do for season ticket holders is above and beyond. There is just about no request that is left unfulfilled (excuse the double negative GR). So for that reason i dont care what they do with the empties. And I remind all GR is right this arena sold out the first two years; give us a winner (not just talk) and people will come.

I am ove this with this subject, everyone here is correct except for me. The Panthers have brainwashed everyone here. Like I said before, people here now have the expectations of just making the playoffs and I am sorry I want more. This team will be lucky to make the top 8 and if they do we can have that parade at the sawgrass parking lot. I am just tired of the excuses that this team has had in the past 10 seasons. Again, why is nonbody talking about the 2 goal lead blown in game 1? I saw a post here that they are happy with 1-1 records so far. The best fan for the Panthers is a quite one that does not open there mouth and rings there cowbell if they lose or win. I am not like that, I am tired of BS hockey and demand a winner now and I am not talking the 8th spot and losing in 4 games.

Andy, no one is saying you are the wrong one in the matter, we all just difference of opinions, and yes, I am happy with a 1-1 instead of being 0-2. Yea,we did blow a 2-0 lead in the first game but hey thats hockey,it was the 1st period,and there was 40 mins of hockey left,not to mention I thought it was a very entertaining game.
Also, the reason why I want the Panthers to make the playoffs, and not just saying " I want the cup" is because just look at what Carolina did 3 seasons ago. They were in what, 29th place, somehow made the playoffs,and won the cup. Anything is possible once you make the playoffs, but you have crawl before you walk. I am almost 100% positive most of the fans of this team have the same frustrations as you do, being a losing team for 8 years,and not making any noise in the post season since 96, but now it seems that things have turned around for the better and all we can do as fans is support our team and see if they really are ready for the post season.

No one is talking about it because it was Game 1 with 81 more to go. Only someone looking for the negatives dwells on game 1 after you win game 2.

Your so called might team in Anaheim is 0-3 and they were just crushed by arguably the wests worst team in LA. So what does that make them. Nothing more than 0-3.

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