Thu Aug 04 05:13pm EDT
The Florida Panthers are our favorite NHL team for innovative and ballsy and sometimes downright outlandish ticket plans. Their latest attempt to attract fans to the free-agent jigsaw puzzle that is next year's team? The Florida Panthers Red Zone, where no visiting fans will be allowed to sit.
This season-ticket seating section, located in Sections 105-114 (shoot once end zone) of the BankAtlantic Center, starts at $25 per game and includes a red Panthers fan pack as well as the chance to win a red 2012 Ford Focus.
But above all else, it's a place where Panthers fans won't have to share legroom with some snowbird in a Montreal Canadiens sweater. At least in theory. (What, are they going to deputize ushers with Tasers and large nets to remove visiting fans from the Zone?)
From the Panthers:
"The Red Zone is a place for passionate and committed Florida Panthers fans — that may not already be season ticket holders — to be among their dedicated peers and set the tone for every Cats home game at the BankAtlantic Center," said SSE president & COO Michael R. Yormark.
"In addition, our great partners at South Florida Ford are giving fans an opportunity to 'see red' even more in a 2011 Ford Focus. The Red Zone is just the latest extension of our 'We See Red' campaign and the full-scale red conversion of our franchise including the new red home jerseys, red lower bowl seats, red paint and signage in the arena and the new blood that will be featured on the Panthers' opening night roster."
Again, this is why we love the Panthers. Not because the "home fans only" section is some great leap in arena seating arrangements — it's like a grown-up version of a college sports student section, or supporter-specific areas in soccer stadia.
But because of the gleeful hypocrisy of it all.
Consider this: The Panthers can market tickets to Philadelphia Flyers fans (promo code: bullies) vacationing in South Florida, while at the same time create a safe haven for their fans away from the Flyers fans they invited to the building.
They're like an exterminator that opens a box of termites on the front porch before ringing the doorbell. It's ingenious!