Originally written in my blog was this bit about the Panthers: Whither Yon NHL Florida Panthers? in which I wondered what the hell was wrong with the Florida Panthers and endeavoured to point out some of the things they’ve screwed up. Naturally, the response was tepid — apparently unless I am writing about Why Led Zeppelin Sucks nobody wishes to comment which is ironic because of course I never said any such thing about Led Zeppelin 🙂
Anyway, I digress. But before I move on, you really DO need to read the Original Post to help you make sense of this one.
Today, I got my renewal package and my playoff ticket packages — all in a spiffy folder. I was more than amused because, well, quite frankly, the Panthers and playoffs aren’t something that should be in the same sentence without the use of the word not. It isn’t that I am being pessimistic, I’m being a realist. The Panthers will go to playoffs only if a number of noticeably better teams experience a collapse for no reason; however generally it’s South Florida teams that experience late season collapse — it’s a tradition in South Florida.
The playoff payment process consists of three options:
- “Pay as we play” in which they bill you as the games are played. You must renew your season tickets for next year (2006-2007) to select this option.
- You can pay for the playoffs in full. Remaining funds for un-played games gets applied to your account and not refunded. Again, you must renew your season tickets for next year (2006-2007) to select this option.
- Pay for the tickets up front. In theory you can be refunded this money.
I pick option “4” which is to throw away the form. The options really don’t differ that much. You’re not really getting a choice, just the illusion of choice.
I am not sure why they think I would select any of these options given the state of the team. By the way, they did include Jacques Martin “State of the Team” address (apparently) in its entirety so I could read it. That’s good because it made me glad I didn’t actually go to the event. No offence, but the damned thing sounded more like a press release written by someone else. If you’ve ever actually listened to Mr. Martin talk, or ever talked to him, and are familiar with his speech patterns you will find this document, um, how shall we say, unusual. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Martin as I think he’s a good coach.
Also included in the packet were several pieces of advertising (heavens!) which again remind me of my original post Whither Yon NHL Florida Panthers? wherein I decry the deluge of same, though in this case I am not bothered as this actually the proper place for blatant advertising — every sport sends tons of advertising with their tickets and ticket renewal packages. It all came in a very spiffy folder which I actually liked. It was something for free and of value from the Panthers, a rarity to be sure.
They’re selling — this is one of the ads — for $59.99 a one-year subscription to “Panther Insider”
which will debut next August. I am not sure why I’d want to spend $59.99 to subscribe to a magazine — that’s absurdly ludicrous for a one-year magazine subscription– especially since I am quite confident that it will be 99% advertising. I mean, seriously, look at the other stuff they put out: Unrestricted and Live On Stage. Why will this be different? (Oh, and would someone please point out to them that those newsrags they put out are not magazines. As they are printed on newsprint and of a certain size and content, they are properly classified as tabloids. They do not meet the proper definition of a magazine any more than the National Enquirer
or Daily Mail.)
The cover letter, written by Yormark, talks about attendance, and I am quite amused by what the letter has to say. Quite amused. You’ve all been to the arena and seen the attendance and heard the announcements, looking around wondering where these “15,000” people have gone off to. The figures are quite simply put: an absolute sham. They are encouraging you to renew now, because starting April 1st they’re going to try and sell 5,000 new tickets. Not a bad goal and I wish them luck, but they better make that 5,002 since mine are going back into the mix. Also, I think April Fool’s Day is a very appropriate day for them to do this. It’s hysterical. They have no
concept of irony. None.
So, what do I get if I renew? Another year of Keenan hockey, which I am assuredly not interested in. Period. Another year of a Cohen run franchise ,which I also am not interested in. I also get another year of the shootout. I won’t participate in the league due to the shootout and I understand this isn’t the Panthers fault. I am so mystified, offended, and pissed by it, I can’t begin to explain it. I do not understand why the NHL insists on pandering to fans with ADD who aren’t bright enough to understand there is nothing wrong with a tie. Really. The world doesn’t stop.
A lettered and numbered jersey, which I do not need as I have tons I am trying to sell off. A 3% rebate in the form of Panthers Bucks — be sure and use the whole amount because no change is given at most concession stands. Worse, in the renewal packet, they advertise the Panther Bucks as “eat free at the arena” but that’s just crap. You’ve paid for it up front and they’re just giving you rebate coupons. That isn’t eating free. From a legal standpoint, that’s called false advertising. You also get priority concert rights which means you can get tickets to concerts before they go on sale to the public at large. I admit that I actually used this a number of times and will miss it greatly. You get discounted parking as well, if you purchase parking.
And you get to hold your ticket prices, which would be nice for me since I’m paying less than pretty much everyone in my price category. My tickets are way below face value 🙂 However, my ticket prices are guaranteed to be held anyway so I’m not getting an additional benefit as they imply. Those of you who “locked in” all get this benefit regardless, so it’s not something extra.
Yormark assures us, in his letter, of unprecedented success. If he’s so damned sure of that, I’ll make him a deal: I’ll renew if I get a written guarantee that I get a cash (or check) refund of my entire season ticket price at the end of next season if the Panthers don’t make the playoffs in the first 8 seeds. I won’t get that, I’m sure but I thought I’d make a concessionary offer nonetheless.
The Panthers further threaten that if you do not renew by March 14th, you may lose the rights to your seat location. I will save them the trouble now: you can have mine! It’s too bad. I will dearly miss sitting with the Higgins family and even Karen the few times she actually bothered to show. They’ve become good friends and I will miss meeting them at games. I won’t, however, miss the hellacious commute. Besides, with all the (almost) free tickets they’re always offering, I can just get some of those next year.
Sorry, but the Panthers aren’t doing the right thing by their fans or their players. I can’t keep supporting it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
For those of you renewing, I wish you all the best of luck — I will continue to watch the Panthers on Center Ice. I will reactivate my subscription using a small part of my season ticket money and use the rest for something fun. I want to reiterate, I am still a Panthers fan. I will continue to support my team, but I will not give them my money anymore. That would just be wrong.
[If you’re a member, please post any comments you may have on the Panthers Mailing list instead of here]
 Okay, I broke out in a paroxysm of laughter
 That’s so if the number of playoff teams changes I’m covered — that would be cheating on the league’s part. And please don’t get me started on the watering down of the playoffs by increasing the playoff pool.