Panthers massaging attendance numbers

Jan 3, 11:37 AM

When the Florida Panthers say they home barn is at 86 percent capacity, they're not lying. Technically. 

Like any good accountant, they just cooked the books a bit so they're not at the bottom of NHL attendance.  

No, they didn't paper the house. They just covered the upper decks with tarps and dropped the capacity. Problem solved.

The Miami Herald reports the Panthers are averaging 2,334 less fans per game through 21 home dates this season, compared to the average of the first 24 games last season (keep in mind last season was a shortened by the lockout and started in the middle of winter).

In reality, based on their non-tarp capacity of 19,250, the Panthers are at 76 percent capacity.

That figure puts them in fight for the bottom between Phoenix (76.2 percent), Dallas (76.1 percent) and Columbus (75 percent). 

To make matters worse, the team is up for sale, and they let the team's all-time leader in games played - Stephen Weiss - walk. 

On the plus side, for the NHL fan on a shoestring budget, the Herald reported that the team slashed season ticket prices down to as low as $7 per game, less than the $8 beers on sale at the BB&T Center.