Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Will Panthers set attendance record Saturday?

Here's a tough Panther trivia question for you: What was Carolina's most-attended home game ever?? Here's a hint: It's a record that may never be broken.

If you guessed one of the two Dallas home playoff games in Charlotte, or the Monday Night game against Tampa Bay this year, or the MNF season opener against Green Bay in 2004, all those are close, but no cigar.

The record-holder came in 1995, when the Panthers played their first season in Clemson in a slightly bigger stadium. They generally averaged only about 55,000 that strange inaugural season at Death Valley, but on Dec.10, 1995, Carolina had 76,136 for a home game against San Francisco, which was the NFL's glamour team at the time.

Bank of America Stadium could never get more than a 74,200 turnstile count, and that would be with every star aligning perfectly and not a single no-show, Phil Youtsey, the Panthers' director of ticketing, told me this week. "And we always seem to get 1,000 no-shows no matter what," Youtsey said. "It's beyond me why people buy a ticket and it doesn't get used, but it happens."

But Saturday night's home playoff game against Arizona may break into the all-time top 4 in turnstile count for a Panthers game (not tickets distributed, but actual people who show up). Here's the current top 4:

1) San Francisco (at Clemson), 1995: 76,136
2) Dallas (home playoff game), 1996 season: 72,808
3) Washington, 1997 (season opener): 72,633
4) Green Bay, 2004 (season opener, MNF): 72,331

Incidentally, Carolina lost all of those games except No.2.

The highest turnstile count in 2008? Not surprisingly, it was the MNF game against Tampa Bay last month at 71,666.

If the weather is dry Saturday night, the Panthers will probably get in the 71-73,000 range for actual turnstile count. But if it's wet (and that's a possibility), it'll be more like 67,000-70,000, I would imagine. In any case, it will be quite a homefield advantage at the stadium where Carolina has gone 8-0 at home this season, what with all the white Growl Towels waving and the 8:15 p.m. start.

As Jake Delhomme says: "Night games are just a little bit different -- a little more electric."


panthersphan said...

"And we always seem to get 1,000 no-shows no matter what," Youtsey said. "It's beyond me why people buy a ticket and it doesn't get used, but it happens."

That's 1,000 overly rich, wine and cheesers who don't deserve to go to a Panthers game in their lives, ever.

It's a shame...

Matthew said...

or, you could be less cynical and say, it's 1000 people who ran into a game-day, last-minute situation that kept them from making the game...or, you could say it's 1000 rednecks whose trucks got towed the night before after being double-parked at the trailer park. but it's up to you.

Bill said...

Actually, it is the scalpers. They would rather go home with a ticket then sell for less then their inflated going rate. Maybe the Panthers or Police should put a stop to this!

Gary B said...

Right now, there are 2,146 tickets for sale on TicketMaster (the offical site for resale of Panthers tickets by PSL Holders).

Mine are two of them. They either sell there or I'll be 2 of the "no shows" as I've had my PSLs since the first season in Charlotte but no longer live in NC.

yme said...

My truck may have gotten towed. But I will be banging your wife in that trailer park while watching the panthers kick some butt.