Panthers Personal Seat License owners are feeling cheated after their longtime tickets at Bank of America Stadium were taken away from them without warning.
The Bank of America Stadium is about to undergo renovations to make the stadium accessible for Major League Soccer to come to Charlotte in 2021, a choice made by the new panthers owner David Tepper. In order to alter the stadium to fit a soccer team with new locker rooms, facilities for players, and a new standing-only section, about 380 seat license owners will be affected. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers began calling PSL owners on January 23, a day before the team held a press conference to announce the changes to the stadium.
At the event, Joe LeaBue, vice president of ticket sales and services, said that they did not know how many PSL owners would be affected by the move and “we wanted to make sure that when we did this, we had all our own T’s crossed, our I’s dotted, we wanted to make sure that when we communicated with these folks, we had a good plan in place.”
“Their happiness is top of mind in doing this before we go on sale with the bunker suites,” LaBue said.
However, many PSL owners were not even aware of the situation until after hearing the press conference or through other news outlets, since the team didn’t finish making calls to those affected until at least the following Monday. Those who did receive a call told The Observer that they were informed that their seats were gone by a representative and either had the option to move their seats to a limited-available zone with the same price range, or pay for a more expensive PSL location with an additional ticket cost and extra for new PSL rights. Those who opted to not move would be paid for the original license price, plus an additional 25 percent.
PSL owners Cindy and Bill Buchanan have owned front-row seats since PSLs were first offered in the ’90s. The pair told The Observer that the tickets were being sold on the Panthers’ website for $7,5000, but they were only offered $3,300, which is less than half of what the seats are worth.
“They were basically forcing us into taking the seats that they had available,” Cindy said. “They are the seats that they can’t sell, so that’s what we ended up with.”
Bill noted that the team could have at least offered what they are selling those seats for online.
“It’s really a slap in the face that they offered us what we paid when they were at Clemson (where the team played their first season back in 1995),” Bill said. “Basically, they were telling us to go to hell and enjoy the trip.”
Other fans echoed similar sentiments. Another PSL owner, Tyler Combs, told The Observer that he’s mad, but doesn’t want to let Tepper’s decisions ruin his love for the team.
“I love them, that’s all I’ve ever known,” Combs said. “They’ve been a huge part of my life for 20-some years and I’m a huge football guy. Would I buy seats and go sit in that stadium right now and give Tepper money? Probably not, but I honestly don’t see myself giving up.”
While the west end zone is the first phase of remodeling at the stadium, the Bank of America Stadium will face even more changes, including a midfield tunnel and other features added for MLS. These forthcoming renovations are likely to affect even more PSL owners.