“We said we must be signed,” said Caldwell. “We have to have respect for our product.”
Unsurprisingly, the average number of visitors initially fell significantly. Once the fans realized they had to pay the regular price to get through the goals, things began to recover. As that demand increased, prices – and revenues – rose in lockstep.
This growth continues this year. The sponsorship renewal for the next season is 82 percent, which is 19 percent better than the 2019-20 season. Season ticket renewals, at 72 percent, are well on the way to surpassing the previous year’s figures, and the club recorded a 12 percent increase in new season ticket holders compared to last season.
“My sales goal is to be above last season’s levels despite getting out of the pandemic,” Thornton said.
The franchise also hopes a new, privately funded $ 65 million practice facility and community center in Fort Lauderdale, about 20 miles east of the home arena in Sunrise, will help increase the club’s visibility in South Florida.
The public-private revitalization project for the War Memorial Auditorium was first announced in 2019. Construction began this month on the facility, which will include two ice sheets, a concert hall for 3,800 people, a restaurant, and fitness and recreation rooms for the community. The aging Art Deco building from 1950 needed renovation, and the Panthers approached the city with an idea.
“The city would be relieved of enormous financial burdens year after year while still maintaining public facilities for public use,” said Mayor Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale.