The Florida Panthers are one of the least respected teams in hockey. Last summer when one of their preseason games had attendance that could be counted without a comma, under 1,000, they became the butt of memes and jokes. This added to the discussion that has lasted as long as the Springfield Tire Fire that the Florida Panthers must soon be on their way out of town.
This is a thought that has long given joy to those in Toronto who want a second team as well as fans and media in many different markets. “Oh, we want a team, we would show up. Send us the Panthers we will love them more than Miami does.”
I find this phenomena odd for two reasons. The first is that normally sports fans are a compassionate bunch that don’t like to see any team leave a town. I normally think of how terrible it would be for my team to leave and wouldn’t wish that on anybody (So anyone who wants to talk about the Jackets leaving Columbus shut it now). They average over 14,000 fans a game. I know those in Canada and traditional markets scoff at that but those are fans right? Even if the team’s jerseys and logo strike you as odd and non-traditional it’s not your team. Let’em live.
The second is that, contrary to popular opinion the team does make money. I know this is contrary to everything the team and league say but it’s really just clever accounting. The Florida Panthers NHL team does lose money, but the overseeing company, Sunrise Sports and Entertainment does. How does this happen? Sunrise Sports owns the Panthers and has a contract to both run and make money off the BB&T Center which makes lots of money off of concerts and other events. Now if the Panther’s left town the arena may not make a profit without the 40 some odd dates that the Panthers fill.
Will the Panther’s move? Maybe, someday. But for the sake of those rat loving fools in South Florida I certainly hope not.