If you attended either of the Panthers’ two most recent home games, you may’ve noticed a huge number of green (Eagles) and purple (Vikings) jerseys filling up Bank of America Stadium.
On social media, local fans slammed season-ticket holders for selling their tickets to the other teams’ fans.
STOP 👏 SELLING 👏 YOUR 👏 TICKETS 👏 TO 👏 OPPOSING 👏 FANS
— Roaring Riot (@roaringriot) October 17, 2021
Why it matters: Home field advantage is important to any team, as last year’s nearly fanless stadiums taught us. A sea of blue and black, fans roaring in unison — it creates an electric atmosphere that can help motivate the home team.
- “Our fans are a big part of game day and critical to our home-field advantage. We’ve all seen how much of a difference they can make in a game, affecting our opponents and giving energy to our players,” Panthers president Tom Glick told me in an email.
Yes, but: You kind of lose that advantage when opposing teams’ fans cram into the stadium and boo the home team.
Are these permanent seat license (PSL) owners who sell their tickets fair-weather fans? Or is the fact that opposing fans are buying up tickets just a sign that there’s just less demand among Panthers fans for those seats?
- The debate is complicated, and, as is the case with countless other issues these days, the nuance is hard to convey on social media.
Zoom out: The Panthers haven’t lost three straight because a few local fans decided to sell their tickets. Plus, opposing fans are often folks who travel from out of town, and local businesses welcome any and all tourism dollars they can get these days.
What’s more, Charlotte is a city of transplants with an easy-to-access airport. There are a lot of, for instance, Philly natives who’ve moved here but still cheer for their home team, and have relatives who’ll come to town for the games.
NORTHERNERS 👏🏼 STOP 👏🏼 RELOCATING 👏🏼HERE 👏🏼 AND 👏🏼 CHEERING 👏🏼 FOR 👏🏼 THE 👏🏼 CITES 👏🏼YOU 👏🏼LEFT
— Jamie Baker (@jamesabaker) October 17, 2021
Another issue? If you’re a PSL owner who can’t make it to a game and you’re trying to sell tickets, you can’t always control who buys them. It’s not like services like Ticketmaster and StubHub let you limit the pool of buyers to only Panthers fans.
The Panthers don’t have any kind of service that allows locals to sell to Panthers fans specifically, either.
Roaring Riot, the Panthers’ fan club, does have a service called the Riot Exchange, which lets members sell their tickets to other members for face value.
- “You’d be surprised how many people will sell for face just to make sure they go to Panthers fans,” said Zack Luttrell, who started the Roaring Riot in 2008.
Then of course, there’s the fact that Panthers fans may not want to fork over several hundred dollars to see a team whose recent performance has been less than mediocre. The Panthers are 3-3, having lost the last three games. And two of them were in Charlotte.
- “As a PSL owner with a new baby, we can’t make every game but as an educator, I can’t afford to just eat those tickets. Even in the 500s. If the team performs, there will be a greater demand for home town,” a Panthers fan named Heather Haas tweeted.
It does feel like this year’s seen even more opposing fans than years past, says Ray Baker, an original PSL owner who has only missed one home game since the Panthers began playing in the 1990s.
“I hope the Panthers start winning again soon and the fans will come back. They say winning cures everything,” Baker says.
PSL owner 508/10/7,8,9 has sold to opposing fans EVERY game this year. I just moved to behind them and the Panthers already offered to move me for free. pic.twitter.com/CZ3oWQ69hw
— Casey Wylie-Knight (@WylieMsw) October 18, 2021
Editor’s note: We updated this story at 9:35 on Oct. 21 to include comment from the Roaring Riot.