NHL Panthers have big plans for next season after growth on, off ice this year

The NHL Panthers, one game away from their first playoff series win since '96, now have "more than 8,000 whole season ticket packages sold," a 33% increase from the '19-20 season, and they have "realistic aspirations to grow that number to 10,000 before next season," according to Sean Shapiro of THE ATHLETIC. Ticket revenue was up 18% this season "from the last non-COVID-impacted season." Panthers' sponsorship revenue increased by 71% last year, while the team added "notable first-time partners in Verizon and BMW." Sources said that merchandise sales also have "tripled this season," while Sinclair-owned Bally Sports Florida "quietly doubled its payout to the Panthers." The team has "taken a more bold approach when it comes to business ventures and corporate initiatives." The NHL's approach to NFTs was "so slow" compared to the NBA that many teams just decided to "give up on the initiative completely." Sources said that the Panthers "took that into consideration" when it came to launching its NIL initiative with local NCAA athletes. Instead of asking for permission or working with the NHL on the program, the Panthers "only informed the league shortly before the press release was shared with the public." The Panthers "nearly went that way when it came to TV rights as well." Sources said that the team "pushed aggressively in their negotiation with Sinclair, even pricing out and threatening to launch their own direct-to-consumer in-market network, before getting the desired offer." The Panthers also have "figured out their place in the South Florida sports market and learned to embrace it." The Panthers have "stopped thinking about themselves as a Miami team and have embraced building the season ticket holder base in Broward County," which has close to two million residents. The Panthers still want to attract business from Miami, but they have "intentionally focused efforts on Miami-related sales to Saturday nights" (, 5/11).

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