When you think of the Florida Panthers, your first thoughts probably center around how the heck a hockey team exists in South Florida. For many, their first thought goes to them being a losing team with struggling attendance. For those people, the Panthers have devised a plan for you. They’re going to cover things up. Not with crazy press releases but rather with actual tarp. George Richards of The Miami Herald elaborates.
As reported earlier this summer, the Panthers are ‘downgrading’ the capacity at The Billboard this season, covering up more than 2,000 upper deck seats with tarps.
According to the team, the “22-piece tarp system sponsored by Party City will cover the last six rows of seats located on the terrace level.”
Tarps This coverage will not be for all games — but for almost all of them. When Montreal or Pittsburgh comes to town the tarps can be removed. They will also not be there for concerts and the like.
When the team moved from Miami Arena in 1998, seating capacity went from 14,823 in Miami to 19,250.
They obviously don’t need that much room.
“Our building is just too big,” team president Michael Yormark said back in May. “It would be too big for a lot of teams in the league.”
Knocking off that many seats now turns the Panthers arena in Sunrise, Florida into the third smallest in the league behind Edmonton’s Rexall Place and Nassau Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders. If you’re wondering, this isn’t the first time an NHL team has implemented the use of tarps so as to skew the attendance numbers/alter the appearance of the arena. Both the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning have used them in the past, although to their credit the buildings they played in at the time were cavernous. The Hurricanes played at Greensboro Coliseum and the Lightning played at current day Tropicana Field.
The upside of the tarp is that it helps make the attendance numbers not look terrible. The downside is that the tarp makes the inside of the arena look horrendous. At least the Panthers are getting a nice piece of advertising money out of the deal to help stave off some embarrassment.