Panthers GM Dale Tallon says attendance will improve as team does
Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said Tuesday that the team will be good "for a long time to come" and insisted that attendance at the BB&T Center will improve as the team does.
Tallon made his comments to radio station WINZ.
The Panthers are currently last in the NHL in attendance through the season's first several weeks. They've averaged 9,365 fans through two home games, which represents 55 percent of the arena's capacity.
Florida also finished second to last in the league in attendance last year, averaging 14,177 fans per game.
The franchise made headlines on Oct. 13 for its home game against the Ottawa Senators when it set a new franchise record for lowest attendance. The crowd was announced at 7,311 and appeared much smaller.
Goaltender Robert Luongo said at the time that he doesn't pay attention to the number of fans in the building when he's playing. Senators goalie Craig Anderson, who played with the Panthers from 2006-09, also said the team needs to win more consistently to increase attendance.
"This city seems to need wins, whether it's football, baseball, basketball. You need to win games to get fans in the building," Anderson said. "It's a matter of them putting some wins together and getting the fan base to come back."
Last week, the Panthers announced plans to broadcast several games in Spanish in an apparent attempt to strengthen their Hispanic fan base.
The Panthers have seven points through seven games this season and are on pace to have an 82-point season. That would be the team's most points over a full season since 2011-12, when the team had 94 points and made its lone playoff trip in the last 13 seasons.
Florida hosts the Arizona Coyotes, who finished last in attendance last season, on Thursday.
- Ben Estes