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Broward County to hire consultant to examine Panthers’ request

Jun 17, 2014, 11:04 AM EDT

Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers Getty Images

This month or next, Broward County will hire a consultant to examine the Florida Panthers’ controversial request for a package of public funds that’s reportedly worth around $80 million.

From the Sun Sentinel:

Deputy County Administrator Roberto “Rob” Hernandez said the county will be ready in June or early July to hire a financial consultant to review the team’s request.

“For the past several months, we’ve been reviewing their qualifications and experience dealing with renegotiation of agreements with professional sports teams,” Hernandez said in an email, about the staff review of financial consultants.

An actual vote on the matter wouldn’t take place until at least a few months after the consultant is hired.

The Panthers play in the county-owned BB&T Center. In 2013-14, only the Phoenix Coyotes’ average attendance was lower than Florida’s (14,177).

It’s not clear what would happen if the Panthers’ request is voted down. In April, the club’s CEO, Rory Babich, refused to comment to reporters on the potential for the money-losing team to relocate. But the possibility has been raised in meetings with the county.

  1. jkulha86 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    For the fans of the team, you’d hate to see the team relocate. But I can’t see this team staying in South Florida much longer. If you continue to put a poor product out on the ice, year after year, of course fans are going to stop going to games. This falls on the ownership and front office.

  2. rsmaggiemae - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I would think that a lot of snow birds are fans in FLA
    but I never could understand how people could really get into hockey going to a game in shorts and flip flops and that pertains to the west coast teams also….
    I guess you have to win the cup to win them over such as in LA,SJ,Anaheim
    being from Minn we will certainly take Bjustad off your hands our hometown boy
    hope everything works out for the fans in FLA

    • boltsfan777 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Hockey is very popular in Florida, and is a perfect escape from the heat. I play hockey 2-3 times per week, and when I get to the chilly rink, I’m already warm until I can get my gear on. After playing and taking the gear off, I’m still hot for awhile and the cold rink feels good in shorts and t-shirt until I get outside where it’s warm. I’m a cold weather person myself, so going to the rink is a great break from the heat. Watching a Lightning game in shorts is not uncomfortable.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      It’s quite easy wearing shorts and flip flops to hockey games. Fans would show up more if they were actually given a decent product to watch. You should certainly know from Minnesota that Tom Gilbert isn’t that good, yet he was a top 4 defenseman for us. That speaks volumes on how bad this team is. Hell he didn’t even sign with Florida until training camp started and new ownership wanted to spend some money.

    • dueman - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      This has nothing to do with going to games in flip flops or anything like that. There just isn’t enough fan support period. boltsfan777 says “Hockey is very popular in Florida”…..On what scale are you making that statement? If you put the northern US, and Canadian teams on that scale, then NO, hockey is NOT very popular in Florida! Florida has shown that there is enough fan support to keep one team going, and right now that team is the Bolts. Unfortunately, we’re talking about the Panthers here, and their fan support is dismal. Greatmiamisportsmind says “Fans would show up more if they were actually given a decent product to watch”…..That comment is just BS. Look at all the northern US, and Canadian teams. Only 8 teams in each conference make the playoffs. Only 1 Canadian team made the playoffs, and every Canadian team sells out every night. It’s about building a fan base, not attracting band wagon jumpers. No team is successful all the time, and that’s why they need a loyal fanbase…..Something, unfortunately for Florida, the Panthers just don’t have!

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        On the scale that Florida is one the fastest growing hockey markets for youth players. Just not the Tampa area, but also south Florida and Orlando of all places

  3. chunkyschoice - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Say bonjour to the Ville du Quebec Panthères!

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      First recommendation of the inquiry: ‘Everyone invest in Rosetta Stone, French Quebec edition’.

  4. tfilarski - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Seattle [insert animal] sounds real real nice

    • imleftcoast - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Seattle Metropolitans. I’m convinced the Panthers will move to Seattle, and it would be good for the league.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        Panthers are not going anywhere.

        1. They have a lease though 2026-27 season. No way would the county let them out of the lease after putting in a 4.3 million scoreboard prior to this season.

        2. The NHL doesn’t want the Panthers to move because for as bad as they have been for as long as they have been, they are still top 5 in board ad revenues. Imagine if they actually started to win a game or two. In a stretch in December they had close to 3 or 4 consecutive sellouts. What brought the attendance down was so many games in March/April at home against teams such as Carolina, Phoenix, and Ottawa. All of
        Whom were not playoff factors.

      • dueman - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        I they have to dish out an extra $80 million a year to the team, what does a 4.3 million dollar scoreboard matter? As for your second reason, the fact that your reason starts with the words “imagine if” says enough. As far as the ad revenues goes…do you think that if they moved the team north, that they would make less money?

      • narfmoo12 - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        Wow! Top 5 in Board Ad revenues! That’s clearly where the big bucks come from. Second lowest attendance, and most of that is people from the north rooting on the road team.

        So why rely on the road team to fill the arena when you could move it to a city that actually supports the home team?

  5. danglesnipcelly - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    What no one realizes is that management has changed this past year. yes the 2013-14 season was as bad as the past few but they weren’t really given the chance to make any big moves. now with all eyes on who the next coach is and the 1st overall pick a lot can change for this florida team. keep your eyes on this team in the next few years and you’ll be surprised how much things change

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Right on.

      Winning games = winning attendance battles

  6. longlivethewhale - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    The Panthers should be embarrassed to say they averaged 14,000+. They are the biggest culprits of having an inflated “announced” attendance. In terms of actual fans in the stand they weren’t even close to any of the other 29 franchises. If you spent any time in the arena, or watched any of the games on tv, you know this to be a fact.

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