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Return of the Blue Roof: Panthers Unveil The Tarps

Rooftarp Remember after Hurricane Wilma how just about everyone in South Florida had blue tarps covering their wind-damaged roofs?

The Florida Panthers are bringing that look back for the 2010-11 season.

Here's a picture (courtesy of floridapanthers.com) showing what the tarps will look like.

As reported earlier this summer, the Panthers are 'downgrading' the capacity at The Billboard this season, covering up more than 2,000 upper deck seats with tarps.

According to the team, the "22-piece tarp system sponsored by Party City will cover the last six rows of seats located on the terrace level.''

Tarps This coverage will not be for all games -- but for almost all of them. When Montreal or Pittsburgh comes to town the tarps can be removed. They will also not be there for concerts and the like.

When the team moved from Miami Arena in 1998, seating capacity went from 14,823 in Miami to 19,250.

They obviously don't need that much room.

“Our building is just too big,'' team president Michael Yormark said back in May. “It would be too big for a lot of teams in the league.''

The Panthers are not the first to do this, in fact, it seems to be a trend in Florida.

A few years ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars covered up almost 10,000 seats to try and keep NFL television blackouts at a minimum.

The University of Miami reduced seating at Joe Robbie Stadium last season by covering sections in the upper deck and club level with UM branded tarps. The Marlins also limit seating at JRS, although for the 1997 and 2003 playoffs, all available seats were open.

Jagstarp The Miami Heat's balcony at AmericanAirlines Arena seats over 3,000 fans. When the balcony is closed, the downtown arena has an official capacity of 16,500.

The Tampa Bay Rays also have covered seats at the highest levels of Tropicana Field.

With the upper deck tarps, the Panthers will play in the third smallest arena in the league – just larger than Edmonton (opened in 1974) and Long Island (1972).

Both of those cities are in talks to get replacement arenas.

Maybe they should bring in the Marlins brass to get a deal done.