The Panthers are pretty much run on nothing. They can't make the playoffs, can't get good management, and, until this off-season, didn't even have their own practice space. Even ownership is going bankrupt.
There's not much left to offer fans, except hope -- and the one thing they've actually got going for them.
That's right: man-flesh.
The Cats have buns on the payroll, but need butts in the seats. So the pretend hockey franchise (they aren't contenders, they just play ones on TV) are building a pretend "Locker Room" set in the stands, which they'll section off and use to pimp out players such as David Booth, Stephen Weiss and Keith Ballard.
For a package that works out to about $35 a game, fans can sit in the part of the Locker Room belonging to the player of their choice. They'll enjoy a skating lesson or a meet-and-greet with him, go home with some of his namesake merchandise, and even receive e-mails from him on birthdays and holidays.
That'll go well: "I'd better be in Stephen Weiss' [section]. He's a cutie," Pompano Beach fan Cary Baker told the Sun-Sentinel, as she added an "s" to the end of "up close and personal."
But the Cats received high marks -- and backhanded compliments -- from men, as well. Bill Sutton, the head of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF, said the plan wouldn't work for a franchise with a superstar, because everyone would angle for his section -- but should do well "for the Panthers." (The roster pity is silent, but implied.)
And the verdict of new Locker Room resident Bryan Nussenblatt: "The team is OK, but the events are going to be good."
That's what you think, Nussenblatt. It's all fun and games until the Locker Room becomes strewn with sweaty underwear and no one takes care of the mold problem.