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Panthers submit new proposal to Broward County, but apparently not much has changed

Apr 7, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT

Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers Getty Images

From the Sun-Sentinel:

The Florida Panthers have submitted a new request to Broward County, after the team’s first plea for public funds bombed.

But the essence of the team’s request has not changed. The Panthers, who say they’re losing millions each year, are still asking the county for a package worth more than $80 million.

Click on the story to read all the things the Panthers are still requesting from the county.

The club’s CEO, Rory Babich, confirmed the latest submission, writing in an email to the newspaper, “We look forward to continuing to engage in an active and constructive dialogue with the county staff regarding the terms of our agreements with the County. We remain confident that a sensible, long-term solution can be found to help sustain the long-term viability of the Broward County-owned BB&T Center.”

Last week, Babich refused to comment on the possibility the team could relocate, calling it a “hypothetical.” But he did make a rather strong statement at a local business breakfast.

“This isn’t a debate about whether to build an arena,” Babich said. “The arena is here. The arena has significant debt on it. If the hockey team fails …. one way or another the county’s going to have to deal with the debt on that arena.”

We’ll leave you with this tweet from Panthers beat writer George Richards, from yesterday’s Florida-Dallas game at BB&T Center:

Related: Michael Lewis’ new book could be bad timing for Panthers’ new owner

  1. jwalsh217 - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Knowing the NHL this will probably help lead the charge in the return of the Trashers

  2. jpelle82 - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    gotta love it. if at first you dont succeed…change nothing and try it again.

  3. tmoore4075 - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    They’ll end up in Quebec if they move. It would be the perfect scenario. Keeps 16 teams in the East and keeps in the division a Quebec team would need to be anyways. The county will need to make a decision. It’s a good argument, because they deal with it with the Panthers there or you deal with it without them there. Better for the county and arena for them to be there.

  4. flyeredup - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Absolutely the worst professional sports market in America.

  5. convincedofthehex - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Vinik, the owner of the Lightning, paid $50 million out of his own pocket to upgrade the Forum in Tampa a couple years ago. The fans actually like the owner, who gives back to the community. The result, packed houses almost every night. There is a lesson in there for owners of all sports teams.

    • pfhockey - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      Vinik is the best owner in the NHL IMO. about $150 mil in renovations including a large screen/jumbotron, party deck, organ, and essentially a new feel with a similar look. His limitless budget also really helps out Stevie hiring elite scouts and such.

  6. elvispocomo - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Forget moving as far as I’m concerned. They should just collapse the league by two teams (Florida and Phoenix) and even out the conferences/divisions. It’ll never happen because it doesn’t make the NHL any money like expansion or relocation would, but it’d be what’s right for the league.

  7. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Good thing that hockey-crazy market down there in Florida has two teams to not support.

  8. gbart22 - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    The league has to be careful putting teams in Canada for the same reason that all but two franchises had to be either moved or put on league welfare in the 90’s to save them in Canada. The Canadian dollar is losing it’s value in comparison to the dollar once again and if that trend continues over the next few years Canadian franchises outside of Toronto and Montreal will again be in trouble just like in the 90’s. Canadians never like to acknowledge the fact that their teams struggled terribly in the 90’s and early 00’s to stay fiscally above water. They all have forgotten or chosen to black it out of their memory.

    Also how can people claim to love hockey so much and then be so selfish to try and hoard it and prevent it from growing. The idea with franchises in non traditional markets is to grow the game so more people love it everywhere. It’s a slow and tedious process but it does work over time and by time I mean periods of 30 years or more generations of families spreading their love of it. Kids falling for luongo and the panthers who then grow spend money and spread it to their kids. It’s not instant which I know is hard for people of this generation to understand.

    • nobandwagoners - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      As a hockey fan in Canada, I agree. The strength of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar has been a huge factor in the relative growth not only in profit for Canadian teams but also league revenues (and impact on the cap levels).

      I also wholeheartedly agree that sticking or relocating NHL first in more Canadian cities isn’t the way to go. I want to see the game grown in US markets, including non-traditional and diverse markets where kids and people only grew up with football, baseball and basketball. There’s got to be a huge untapped talent pool. I don’t want the NHL to be a “CHL” (not talking about the existing minors, here). Takes the fun out of things if it’s limited in that way.

  9. thewalkoffktxt - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    1. I can’t see the Panthers staying in Florida. Revolving door of ownership, obvious lack of care to market hockey in South Florida, enticing Northern options, etc etc.

    2. Why Quebec? One of the chief reasons the Nordiques moved in 1995 was because Quebec City was a largely monolingual, francophone city and a tiny market akin to Green Bay in the NFL (without much of the success; 1994-95, their swan song, was their best year yet — a lockout-shortened one at that). Winnipeg notwithstanding, why even go back to Canada at all? Are there not other cities around the larger Northern markets who could deserve a club? (Throwing a wild one here: Houston?)

    • thewalkoffktxt - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      And yes, I understand Houston is not northern, but if the Panthers are moving, why not along a similar line that they’ve been following in the East?

    • tmoore4075 - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      It’s a better market than it was in 1995. A better economy with more corporate support than before, a new arena which was nowhere in site back then, a salary cap, revenue sharing and a new Canadian tv deal. The Canadian Dollar thing is a legit concern however, so that’s something to consider but a lot more upside than 20 years ago. Other potential relocation cities are Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Vegas (hope not) and I’d bet Houston is on the list but probably not that high. If they are going to a new market, meaning not Quebec, I’d put my money on the Northwest United States.

    • stixzidinia - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      Why does Houston of all places “deserve” an NHL club? They don’t care about hockey any more in Houston than they do in South Florida….probably less so.

      • thewalkoffktxt - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        It’s on the list.

        But, KC sounds like a great option. If they’re not trying to tinker with the conference, Kansas City is a hidden option. Quebec City is pulling the strings, so we’ll see what they can do here.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        Houston cares less about hockey than anywhere in Florida. Heck they let their AHL team Houston Aeros leave without putting up a fight. Toyota Center’s feelings were they can make more money with concerts than hockey

  10. nj666 - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    tickets for the stars/panters game in fl. were being sold on stubhub for $2.94. I’m not even making that up…

    • tmoore4075 - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Would be great to be a fan of other teams and living down there. Money I paid for Red Wings tickets against the Habs a few weeks ago were just a little more than that.

      • shortsxit34 - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:02 PM

        The Panthers do most of their marketing to transplants that are fans of the visiting team.

  11. stixzidinia - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Well living down here as a Pens fan is great. It’s like attending a Pens home game for cheap. But there isn’t any kind of good fan support here. Seriously, i’ve played beer league games at that arena that have drawn more people just in terms of friends and family than some Panthers games i’ve been to there. They don’t get discussed on local sports radio, all the local idiots care about is Lebron, and the Dolphins (when they’re winning……which isn’t often). Seriously, listen to local sports radio here, it’s startling at how dumb the local populace is. “Yo, B, the Heat need to step it up and feed off of Lebron yo” or “hey dog, the Dolphins should sign Lebron to play tight end”.

    My only concern for the plight of the Panthers pertains how its practice facility, Saveology Iceplex, would be affected. Great beer league venue and the best ice in south Florida.

  12. canuckinamerica - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Whether expansion or relocation, Quebec now is probably a very hard sell to the NHL and Board of Governors. And this even with a new arena being built. Pierre Karl Peladeau, owner of Quebecor and hopeful owner of an NHL franchise is running for the Parti Quebecois in today’s election. And when first introduced as a candidate stated his passion is to see Quebec become it’s own country. None of the other owners nor executives for the NHL would have a team in Quebec under that scenario, regardless of any expansion/relocation fees PKP would be willing to cough up. The league needs to contract……a few good teams and the rest very mediocre.

  13. sportsfaninyyc - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Move them to Hamilton, Ontario deserves an NHL team.

  14. greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Ownership has yet to use the relocation word publicly and they continue to try to push forward to win. That’s the end of the story.

    Not only that, we have seen how the NHL dealt with the Phoenix situation. The NHL isn’t going to let a top 5 ad revenue generating team leave.

    The Panthers are locked into a lease through 2028, I highly doubt they will fork out 15 years of rent to Broward County. Broward won’t let them leave without any sort of compensation.

    The Panthers have missed the playoffs now 12 of the last 13 years. It doesn’t matter what market your in. You could be in Chicago, Tampa Bay, Montreal, or Dallas no fans will show up. Until the Panthers start to win, they won’t draw. In December they had a 5 game win steak and were drawing 15,000 per game.

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