Give the Panthers' marketing brass credit for one thing: They're creative. Oh, and they have plenty of brass. So make that two things.
The latest out of One Panther Parkway comes a playoff guarantee.
Basically, the team is saying if you buy a four-game pack of tickets to this year's playoff run and the team doesn't make the postseason, you score four freebies next year.
Which you can probably parlay into tickets for 2010-11 if they don't make the playoffs again next season. It could be the gift that keeps on giving!
In a press release I got from Barry Jackson (yet, interestingly enough not directly from the Panthers), Pete DeBoer is quoted as saying “I thought
it was important to let fans know, to promise them, that our team will do
everything possible to be successful on the ice over the next 31 games.
''We’ve made no secret of our goal to make the playoffs this year, and we want fans to get excited and support us during the stretch run.”
Here's what Chad 'C.J.' Johnson, the team's VP for sales and marketing says about the ploy:
marketing department worked directly with Coach DeBoer to come up with this
new, innovative campaign.
“The purpose of the campaign is to activate the South Florida marketplace and let everyone know – whether you’re a hockey fan or just a casual sports fan – that we are in an exciting playoff hunt and we need their support. Every game is a big game and we want to make the BankAtlantic Center the best home ice advantage in the NHL.”
My take: Putting this out there now is a bit risky, and it'll be interesting to ask the players what they think of this tomorrow.
The team hasn't made the playoffs in nine years, and this only amps up the pressure (not the giving away tickets thing. They give away tickets to various people for various reasons).
For the consumer, this is a great deal -- just another good deal in Panthers history. I mean, where else can you spend $17 for a professional sports ticket and get free parking, a food voucher and other stuff?
But you can bet the Toronto folks in town tomorrow are going to get a whiff of this promotion and have themselves some fun with it.
Of course, the Panthers front office could give a flying flip what the Canadian media thinks of them. Doesn't matter what the team does, they're going to get made fun of. They're kind of an easy target.
But if the Panthers make the playoffs, no harm, no foul.
And CJ is right. The team is doing their part on the ice (for the most part); now it's time to get some fannies in the seats and get that playoff atmosphere going.