Florida Panthers executive Michael Yormark reached out to Puck Daddy to explain the widely mocked attendance for Monday afternoon’s preseason game against the Nashville Predators, which still requires this shot for context and a little shock value:
Again, this photo comes via Erin Brown (Fox Sports Florida)
Like Brown said earlier, Yormark told Puck Daddy that the main function of the exhibition is for scouts to evaluate talent rather than for fans to fill the building. He admitted that “the day game attendance is not as high as we would like,” but described the doubleheader as a “unique opportunity for our fans.”
The most interesting tidbits came when the outspoken front office member said that ticket sales are generally looking up, at least compared to the abbreviated 2013 campaign.
“ … However, in no way does today’s attendance reflect our expectation for the upcoming season,” Yorkmark wrote. “In fact, we fully expect an opening night sellout, our new full season equivalent ticket sales are up 41-percent over last year and we also expect the 2013-14 season to be the fourth consecutive year in which we see an average home attendance increase at the BB&T Center.”
That 41-percent mark might be a little misleading because of the likely damage that came from the lockout, yet it still is a nice figure for Florida to point to.
Does any of this totally erase the embarrassment of such a scant crowd? Probably not, but it doesn’t seem like the Panthers were completely shocked by sparse attendance of an exhibition with little selling power, either.