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Panthers announced attendance Tuesday night lowest since 2008

Dec 4, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT

When the Florida Panthers hosted the Ottawa Senators at BB&T Center in Sunrise Tuesday night, they did so in front of a lightly-attended crowd.

The announced attendance of 10,074 was the franchise’s lowest number since Halloween 2008 when they drew 10,063 to a game against then division-rival Carolina.

As George Richards of the Miami Herald shares via Twitter, that number may have been a bit higher than what actually attended the game.

You have to wonder what new owner Vincent Viola thinks of all this.

Of course, the Panthers haven’t had much success in recent years. Aside from their Southeast Division title in 2012, playoffs have been an extreme rarity in South Florida. As we’ve seen just about everywhere that isn’t Canada, missing the playoffs every year takes its toll on attendance.

  1. amityvillefun - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    This is proof that the NHL expansion to the south hasn’t panned out. Florida needs two NHL teams like Eskimos need Popsicles.

    Also, what are the Panthers expecting? If you suck, no one is going to want to attend your games. They are fighting an uphill battle. Selling hockey to warmer climates is hard enough, never mind when your team can’t compete.

    The sad thing is they are better than Buffalo. Pat LaFontaine has his work really cut out for him.

    • jb8588 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      NHL expansion HAS worked in the south if your management knows what they’re doing like with any other NHL franchise. Tampa Bay & Carolina have won cups, and attendance is fine. Nashville has always been competitive and an almost playoff-regular and attendance is fine there. It’s sad that management has been terrible in Florida & (then) Atlanta, because as you said if you suck no will attend the games. Living in DC, I can attest to this with Caps fans as well. Growing up here, no one cared about hockey. Ever since Ovi’s second season, suddenly everyone is a fan. Hmmm….

    • jhmiddleton81 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      I mean it’s kind of been terrible for their fans to have to go through the constant struggles this team has had, but that looked like 5,000 people tops. I don’t get how a professional sports franchise in a city with a population of 5.5 million people can’t put at least 15,000 people in the seats. I really hope this team gets a franchise player in the next two drafts, because this is a team you have to hope gets better. I mean they have two stars in the making in Huberdeau and Barkov, but outside of that, no real top six forwards. I wanna say I hope they get McDavid, but I think he will go to Buffalo. Maybe Reinhart or Ekblad this year

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:20 PM

        Well, the NBA’s defending Champions did play a little ways down the road that night as well. It was a school night as well.

    • dirt2013 - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      I was in Florida last February and you would think I was in Canada.Maybe those Canadians don’t go to hockey games but I know for a fact they play a lot of golf.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        Wow, who would have thought you would have found someone golfing in winter in Florida. The state that has the most golf courses…during winter.

  2. sjsharks86 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Move them to Portland or Seattle, even out the conferences to 15/15 again, and then if the league decides to expand they can give one team to the other city, and also accommodate the East with a team in Quebec City or wherever the hell else they’re trying to build a new arena now.

    • jb8588 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      I do agree that Seattle should get an NHL team…I think that would be a great hockey market.

    • anthj99 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      You’re a genius. Can you balance my checkbook?

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:00 PM

        You can stop with the move the Panthers to (insert any town here). The fact of the matter is, they are locked up in the lease until at least after the 2027-28 season. By then, they will probably have a new arena deal or remodeled BB&T Center.

        As the guy above mentioned, no town will suppose a constant loser of a team. Florida has made the playoffs ONCE since Minnesota and Columbus joined the league…13 years ago. It doesn’t matter who or where you are, no team can draw fans when your that bad on the ice.

  3. jpelle82 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    i was flipping through center ice channels last night checking scores during commercials and i saw the live coverage for literally a minute. the place was empty. when the pens played there last week there were more pens jerseys than panthers and the cheering was for penguins goals. i saw highlights on nhl on the fly of a bobby ryan goal last night and the local coverage (foxsports?) was advertising a billy joel concert at the arena across the screen during game play, gotta say that was a first for me to see, i guess they gotta try to sell tickets to something….

    • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      more Panthers fans showed up to thumbs down your comment than showed up for the game. if only teams counted thumbs towards their bottom line.

      • jpelle82 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        lol. just trying to help them out i guess. love getting thumbs downs for things that anyone with two eyes could observe. its not like i put the billy joel ad on the screen…

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        maybe they just really hate Billy Joel.

        “We play strictly 80’s Joel, sir.”

    • lonespeed - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:08 PM


      Crowd: “BOOOOOO!”

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      Were you referring to the scroll underneath the score? It’s a Fox Sports Florida broadcast, and every NHL team that Fox Sports whatever they are called now, has advertising for upcoming concerts. At least Florida and Minnesota do.

  4. lovac2 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    This just tells you that in Canada only poor people root for Ottawa. If that was Toronto or Montreal, their fans would show up.

    The real purpose of having hockey teams in Florida is for visiting fans to combine their vacation with hockey games.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      lol only a deranged Canadian would make that assertion from this article.

    • barefootcastle - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Wait … the visiting fans are supposed to fill up the stadium???

  5. metalization1 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Move the team already. The last report I read suggested Canada could support another three teams. Win or lose Canada will support the team. Look how well the Jets are doing with just a fraction of the population. It’s a no brainer at this point.

    • jb8588 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I would usually agree with this, but in Ottawa it’s not the same story. Declining attendance like mad this season…

      • metalization1 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        I think Ottawa’s low attendance might be public backlash to poor management and a bad game schedule. The loss of Alfredsson was devastating to Ottawa and management doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job at running/building the team. I think if management could get things under control attendance would skyrocket right away. I think that situation is more reactionary than an indication of declining interest in hockey.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:07 PM

        Exactly how is Ottawa different than Florida? Now stretch Ottawa’s situation out but for 12 more seasons. That’s Florida.

  6. blomfeld - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM


    I too found myself laughing out loud when I saw the sparse crowd there in Miami last night while listening to the ‘announced’ attendance. What a complete joke, as you didn’t have to be an actuary to see that there were maybe ‘tops’ 2000 people at that game. Anyway, I contend that the lion’s share of blame for this travesty lies squarely on the shoulders of lazy, indifferent, bourgeois, Canadians … the so-called ‘snowbirds’ if you will. The intent of the effort in Florida, much like that in Arizona, was to cater to vacationing Canadians down there in the lands of sun. And on the surface such a business plan made sense, given the assumption that Canadians are all such rabid hockey fans who can never get enough of their fix. Yet more wrong the NHL couldn’t have been! These holidaying free-loaders have completely ‘failed to deliver’ in such cities as Phoenix, Miami, Tampa, Anaheim and Nashville, with the result now being ‘serious’ financial uncertainty for the league as a whole … and that’s truly a shame. 😦

    • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        lmao does anybody else find it hilarious that I said “lol only a deranged Canadian would make that assertion from this article” above, then blomfeld shows up and says the same thing?

        no offense, blomfeld…. even though I think you were being sarcastic. then again, I’ve thought that before and ended up being wrong soooo…..

      • blomfeld - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        Ibiedinijad … in all seriousness friend, I didn’t even notice that guy’s post above ? … and of course I was trying to be a little bit funny :) … nonetheless, I do seriously believe that much of the NHL’s effort in cities like Phoenix, Miami and Tampa was to ‘tap into’ the wallets of these so-called Canadian snowbirds … and for whatever reason, these people have ‘positively’ failed to uphold their end of the bargain with Bettman and crew ? … in fact, I would contend that this is the main reason why Bettman has been so reluctant in recent years to award any sort of a new franchise to a Canadian city … call me crazy of you like, but that’s what I truly believe …

        *** special video selection for comrade Ibiedinijad ***

  7. lonespeed - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Top 10 Signs Your Southern Hockey Team Is In Trouble:

    10) The PA Announcer Says One Lucky Fan Will Win An Autographed Jersey From The Visiting Team.

    9) There Are More Mothers / Fathers At The Game To Watch The Their Son or Daughter Play In The MITES Game During Intermission Than Regular Fans.

    8) People Are Petitioning For A Name Change And Some Suggestions Include The Seattle Coyotes or Portland Panthers.

    7) The Team Is Luring Fans With The Promise of Monster Truck Rally Tickets In Addition To Tickets To Tonight’s Game.

    6) The Team Is Considering Moving One of Its Games To The Mall Skating Rink As A Promotion To Get More Fans To Attend.

    5) The Team’s Starting Goalie Is Tim Thomas.

    4) The End of The Ice Where The Home Team Shoots Twice Is Virtually Vacant.

    3) The Fans Are Wearing Miami Heat Jerseys.

    2) When The ‘Good Ol Hockey Game’ Is Played Over The Loud Speakers, Everyone Looks Around Like ‘What The Hell Is This?’.

    1) Sydney Crosby Isn’t Being Booed.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      not the first time I’ve seen somebody on here try to make a list and “8 )” turns out as a sun-shaded emoticon.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        yeah, my comment looks stupid now that it somehow is fixed…… but it was def an emoticon when i posted that.

    • alicesrightfootesq - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Legit unfunny.

      • lonespeed - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        I found him! Over here guys. It’s the Florida Panther fan we’ve all heard existed. I know, I can’t believe it either. Like finding a Zamboni in the desert.

  8. cliverush - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Back in the mid seventies in LA the owner of the Kings said he bought a team for the city because there were over 500,000 transplanted Canadians livings there. What he didn’t realize he stated was that these transplants hated hockey.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Clive, ah, Jack Kent Cooke, who managed to chase both Red Kelly and Jiggs McDonald out of town. One of those early 1970s seasons was fun for me. The last 2 rows of seats at the Forum were just $2.50 a seat, and half price for age 16 and under, so me and a couple of older buddies would drive down almost every Sat. night, I’d get our $1.25 tickets and in we’d go. Except for a few Old 6 teams, you could sit almost anywhere, and we learned quickly which ushers to avoid as they would demand to see our stubs. Kings lost most nights but we had fun.

  9. alicesrightfootesq - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Every sports team in Florida deals with this issue. Every sports team in a region that is full of transplants deals with this issue. If you don’t win, people just go do something else. What do you want us to say? “Sorry we have better things to do than watch mediocre sports teams?” Miami isn’t Green Bay. Phoenix isn’t Buffalo. That’s just the fate of sports teams in regions with a large transplant population. It’s something that people who aren’t from these areas can’t seem wrap their minds around for whatever reason.

    • jpelle82 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      i personally couldnt imagine moving somewhere and then just giving up my loyalty to support whatever local team is in my new zip code, whether they were good or bad.

    • dirt2013 - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Miami isn’t very good at going to see any sport. Even the ‘Canes don’t draw much.Maybe soccer would do well since English is a second language down there.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:14 PM

        The ‘Canes did draw good when they were at the Orange Bowl which is 15-20 minutes away from campus. Instead the City of Miami didn’t want to repair the Orange Bowl and decided to demolish it and build the Marlins their new park there. Now they are stuck at Sun Life Stadium which is 35-40 minutes from campus.

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