Carolina Panther season ticket holders will pay more for tickets in the 2014 season. Some of that is due to the Panthers, while some of it is out of their hands.
The Panthers have not raised ticket prices for their PSL holders for four years. They last did so before the 2010 season. But this year they have decided to increase prices by $2 to $21 per game per ticket, depending on the section.
According to the Panthers, 66 percent of the stadium will see increases of $2 to $5 per game per ticket. The largest increase of $21 per game per ticket affects 2,400 (three percent) of the best seats -- in the lower level and mostly near midfield. Even including the increase, the Panthers say their average ticket price will definitely rank among the lower half of all NFL teams in 2014.
For upper-level seats, Panther ticket prices will go up by $2 or $5 per ticket, whether you are buying an individual or season ticket. For lower-level seats, they will go up by $5, $8, $11 or $21 per ticket. (The ticket renewal brochure is on panthers.com).
That's the Panthers' part of the increase. Current Panther permanent-seat license holders -- who control 62,000 of the stadium's approximately 74,000 seats -- will get their invoices either Tuesday or Wednesday in the mail. The invoices went out in the mail Monday, the team said. A six-month, interest-free payment plan is being offered by the team.
The other part of the increase, which also affects every seat in the stadium in some way:
For the first time, Panthers tickets will also include a new sales tax mandated by the North Carolina General Assembly, which changed the tax code to apply a 7.25 percent sales tax to tickets and handling fees. This tax applies to all college and professional sporting events in North Carolina as well as other various entertainment activities.
So this will be a double whammy, although a modest one in a number of cases. For instance, the Panthers' standard $52 upper-deck tickets from last season will go up $2 due to the Panthers raising their prices, to $54. Those tickets would then increase an additional $3.91 due to the new N.C. sales tax, meaning a $52 seat in 2013 would be a $57.91 seat in 2014 (an overall increase of $5.91, or 11.3 percent).
The largest percentage increase would come from a lower-level seat that cost $109 in 2013. In 2014, it will cost $21 more, making it $130. The new tax will make it $139.43 -- a $30.43 increase per game per ticket. A season-ticket package includes eight regular-season games and two exhibitions, which means that those tickets would see an overall increase of $304 for the 2014 season. Again, those tickets constitute only three percent of the stadium. (My main beef with all that is the NFL mandate to have season-ticket holders pay the same price for exhibitions as they do for regular-season games is completely wrong-headed, but that's another story).
"It is essential to have a plan that provides the resources to be competitive. team president Danny Morrison said in a statement about the price increase. Looking ahead, we are working to improve every aspect of our performance on and off the field. Head Coach Ron Rivera and General Manager Dave Gettleman, beginning his second season, are now focused on the NFL Draft and building for the future. We have also begun renovations that will enhance the game day experience for all fans at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers went 12-4 last season, winning the NFC South and making the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season. They obtained a first-round bye but then lost a home playoff game to San Francisco in the NFC divisional round. Rivera was named AP Coach of the Year and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly the AP Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month in New York the night before the Super Bowl.
The team's upcoming stadium improvement include state-of-the-art scoreboards at both ends of the stadium, a better sound system and three sets of escalators that will provide easier access to 300 and 500 level seats. The Panthers still have about 2,000 PSLs available for sale, mostly high in the upper deck and some for $1,000 per seat that include their cheapest ticket, which is $41.