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Panthers Vs. Heat: Who Wins? Depends on Who is Winning

Wade Steven N. of West Palm Beach sent me a very interesting email last night, one I thought should be further investigated.

As I've explained to some in the Canadian media before, the Panthers struggle to put fannies in the seats for various reasons. First off, the team hasn't been real good during this decade. Winning, I think, will cure a lot of ills.

But another thing hampering the Panthers are their good friends down the road.

Stand up and make some noise for your Miami Heat.

The NBA schedule came out the other day, and according to Steve's calculations (which check out), there are 11 conflicts between the two franchises. That means on 11 nights, the Heat will be playing in Miami at the same time the Panthers are playing in Sunrise.

In this economy, cannibalization isn't good for either team. The team that is winning at the time will probably draw more fans. That's the nature of this market.

And there are matchup deals as well (the Heat's opening night will be a sellout on Oct. 28; the Panthers will struggle to put 12,000 in The Billboard when the Senators pay a visit that night).

When the Panthers are winning, this isn't really an issue. And some within the Panthers feel there are basketball fans and there are hockey fans and rarely do the two mix. But there are a lot of casual fans in this market, ones who will give hockey a try. But many of those casual fans will take the Heat right now for various reasons. And you hate to make the few fans in this market who actually go to the games make a choice between one or the other. And that's going to happen 11 times this season.

I'm not making any excuses for the Panthers attendance; they got a new arena on the edge of the Everglades when the truth is, this area doesn't need multiple arenas. But, the Panthers have an added challenge in bringing in fans, one most other NHL teams don't have to worry about. Do the Flyers care who the 76ers are playing at home on a Saturday night? No, because the Flyers are on the road and don't have a single ticket to sell that night.

-- Here is what the Panthers face when it comes to local competition: Of the 30 NHL teams, 16 share a market (not counting the Islanders but counting the Sharks/Warriors) with an NBA team. Of those 16 teams, all but five share an arena with said NBA team.

The teams: Heat/Panthers; Pistons/Red Wings; Warriors/Sharks; Suns/Coyotes; Wolves/Wild.

Of these five teams, the NHL team is preeminent in three of those markets.

Then you have the Panthers and the Coyotes, teams struggling to gain market share in a very competitive entertainment market. Having to go head-to-head with the more established NBA franchise doesn't help.

And there's not much either can do. The Panthers and the Heat don't talk about who is playing when; both teams want to play on the weekends, and since they don't compete against each other for the building (like in almost every other NHL city) they can do what they please. Of Miami's 11 conflicts between hockey and hoops, seven of those games fall on a weekend.

FYI: The Coyotes and Suns play at home on the same nights eight times.

-- Here is a list of the Heat-Panthers home conflicts and one's guess on which team gets the win attendance-wise:

October 28 – Heat vs. Knicks (opening night); Panthers vs. Senators. HEAT
November 6 – Heat vs. Nuggets; Panthers vs. Capitals. EVEN
November 14 – Heat vs. Nets; Panthers vs. Islanders. HEAT
November 27 – Heat vs. Wizards; Panthers vs. Maple Leafs. PANTHERS
December 27 – Heat vs. Pacers; Panthers vs. Bruins. EVEN (both will be hurting as Dolphins play Texans)
January 23 – Heat vs. Kings; Panthers vs. Maple Leafs. PANTHERS
February 1 – Heat vs. Bucks; Panthers vs. Ducks. HEAT
March 6 – Heat vs. Hawks; Panthers vs. Hurricanes. HEAT
March 16 – Heat vs. Spurs; Panthers vs. Capitals. EVEN
March 18 – Heat vs. Magic; Panthers vs. Coyotes. HEAT
March 20 – Heat vs. Bobcats; Panthers vs. Sabres. HEAT

Have to give the Heat the edge in most of the matchups because it has a higher season ticket holder base. So when both teams play a team with limited local draw, the Heat are going to draw more. Unless they stink.

-- FYI: Nothing new on Alex Tanguay. Thought I should update everyone.

-- In other obvious news, Maury is doing DNA testing today.


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It's just as simple as you point out... Panthers win = sellout. After ao many years of misery it will take more than a midseason winning streak. Consistent winning and a playoff run before the end of the millenium will be helpful.

I remember how packed the Miami Arena was back in the 90s during the rat trick era. That was something else. It was electric. While there'll never be another feeling like that, I believe if the Panthers put a Grade A product on the ice that can not just compete FOR the playoffs, but compete in the playoffs, the seats will fill up. South Florida is a fair-weather market. Even the Dolphins have trouble selling out and usually have the local stations buy up the remaining tickets to avoid blackouts.

I guess moving from downtown Miami and closer to Bayside/South Beach to west Sunrise on the brink of the Everglades didn't help either...

In a market like Miami, even a sad Heat team will outdraw a mediocre Panthers' game, including the opponent. Its just the way the cultural diversity is laid out here.

Heat have Wade. Panthers have...

I think you're overstating the effect of date conflicts. In the NYC metropolitan area, the Isles, Devils and Rangers often play at home, not to mention the Knicks and Nets.

How good the team is, whether the team is heading in the right direction, whether there is an existing fan base that cares about the team, ticket price and location of the arena and available transportation to it are all more important factors.

Islesfan: I agree with you, absolutely (although as big as the NYC market is, if the Isles, Devils and Rangers are all going on the same night, MSG is packed and the other two are not even close). And if the Panthers are winning, the fans will be there...

La-Shawn.....you are NOT the babies father! lol

this is a team that looks for the name and the in. That is why the panthers brought in Pavel Bure.

Since Pavel this team has not the in player. The heat had Shaq and now have Wade.

Winning cures everything, just look at the blackhawks, they went from just over 3,000 season tickets to having the arena at 110% of capacity (standing room seats).

If the panthers want to put paying customers into the seats (they give away so many tickets to meet the minimum for the revenue sharing) they need to put a product on the ice worth paying for.

By the way, what is happening with the GM search is this going to be 3 out of the last 4 years without a full time GM? That is all you need to know about this organization

Bottom line: If the panthers start winning, and they consistently win with no fire sale afterwards, the people will come; and if that starts happening, the fans will consistently come to the BAC, regardless of who else is playing or performing on the same night.

No one came to Yankee stadium in the 1980's. If they did, they only came to see Donnie Baseball!

This is so true and most of the die hard fans and season seat holders have been preaching this for 9 years now. Put a winning product on the ice, and the fans will come, plan and simple.

On another note, GR.. Any rumors of any kind that you've heard of lately? I would love the Panthers to make a trade for Heatley, do you think that will ever happen?

Hope you have a good weekend

Dude really, Panthers vs heat... Thats a load of crap. Sorry GR I love and respect your blog but man do I have to comment. So many things are wrong with this organisation. Im not gonna talk about dumb trades because it would be too easy. But Hiring Keenan twice, not firing Martin, loosing Dany Roussin because we didnt fax the contract in time???!!!??? I remember Denis Potvin ( about 4-5 yrs ago ) having little snippets between period explaining to us what an icing was. This organisation takes their fans for idiots. In a league where every Gm is someone pretty well respected in the hockey world who do our beloved Panthers hire .......... Randy Sexton with all do respect if you ask anyone about randy sexton you will get a : WHOTF is randy Sexton. Like Ive said before.... save that money that you are spending on ice dancers, 2 mascots, cookouts, and im forgeting a bunch and spend it on ........ are you ready Mr Cohen...... im only gonna say it once ......THE TEAM YOU PUT ON THE ICE. And I garantuee people will be there...

Nothing helps attendance like male cheerleaders!

Miami Manthers
Panther Potbellies
Florida McFatties (Bonus: Possible cross-marketing with a new McD's burger)

You get the point...

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