Florida Panthers Fans 'Hire' Drew Rosenhaus to Negotiate Ticket Prices
The Florida Panthers are no strangers to unique marketing campaigns in an effort to put butts in the seats. Earlier this season, with the team fighting for its first playoff berth since 1999-00, the team introduced The Panthers Promise Plan, offering free tickets during the 2009-10 season if they failed to make the playoffs, which they eventually did. According to the team, all free tickets that were promised will be honored next season.
Now, it appears as if the Panthers are bringing NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus into the marketing mix.
On Tuesday, Rosenhaus announced, via his Twitter feed (naturally), that he had been "hired" by Panthers fans to help negotiate cheaper season ticket prices. The Panthers quickly responded, via their official Twitter, and claimed to have no comment on the matter.
So, is Rosenhaus really going to be battling it out with Panthers' brass to get lower ticket prices? Not quite. Actually, he's working for the Panthers.
President and COO Michael Yormark released the following statement: "Sports agent Drew Rosenhaus is part of our new marketing campaign that's launching next week. The premise of the campaign is that he's been retained by Panthers' fans to renegotiate the season-ticket pricing."
Attendance has been a problem in Florida for the past decade, as the team hasn't ranked higher than 17th since 2001. During the 2008-09 campaign, for example, the team averaged just over 15,600 fans per game, good enough for 25th in the league. Even worse, that 15,600 represented just an 80 percent capacity at the BankAtlantic Center. The only team to play to a smaller percentage on a nightly basis was the Atlanta Thrashers.
Are ticket prices part of the problem? A quick look at the Panthers' website shows a variety of season ticket packages that start as low as $387, or $9 per game. As far as season tickets to a professional sports franchise go (that's 43 games, including preseason), that's not a bad deal. Granted, the seats are in the last five rows of the arena, but still, a season ticket is a season ticket. The next lowest full season package, according to the website, is $17 per game.
You can't fault the Panthers for thinking outside the box here, but the best marketing approach is still the simple formula of winning games. In their 15-year existence the Panthers have qualified for the postseason just three times, including a surprising trip to the Stanley Cup final during the 1995-96 season.