I jumped on the Carolina Panthers bandwagon almost exactly three years ago. It was during a cold and grey home game against the Falcons in 2012 and the Panthers were 3-9 at the time. They won 30-20, ended up winning the final four games of the season, and I committed.
I grew up in Cary where the Panthers just don’t have the same draw. It’s a transplant town (Central Area for Relocated Yankees) so everyone seems to root for the Steelers or Washington or the Cowboys or the Bears or the Giants.
I used to be a Tennessee Titans fan, but the Panthers have grown on me since I moved to Charlotte. This is officially my third season as a Panthers fan, and they’ve made the playoffs all of those seasons and are undefeated this season. (You’re welcome.)
And now it’s time for me and the Panthers to define the relationship.
I was recently offered two PSLs in the end zone section of the upper deck. For the uninitiated: A PSL is a permanent seat license, a genius/diabolical way for the Panthers organization to (a) fund stadium construction and (b) lock people into buying season tickets, because you have to have a PSL to buy season tickets and lose it if you don’t.
So, should I buy them? Here’s the pro/con list I’ve come up with so far:
PRO: I get to watch all of the football.
I’d get to watch every Panthers game with fun people.
Plus, according to friends who have PSLs, I’d get a shot to buy tickets to other games played at Bank of America Stadium, which means I won’t be left out in the cold when the Tar Heels play in the ACC Football Championship Game again next season. (You read that right. I’m calling it now.)
CON: Scheduling life around football.
I already do this enough — planning meals and church and drinking and work around when the Panthers play. But if they’re playing a home game — and I have a PSL — I want to be at that game. That means eight weekends out of the year I cannot go out of town. “Sorry, mom and dad. The football calls.”
PRO: To get my name on the Panthers statues!!
Wait, what? That’s only for founding PSL owners? Well that stinks. Cross this one off the list.
Each PSL would cost $2,000 and, according to this chart, the season tickets would each cost $500 per year. So that’s a $4,000 initial investment, then $1,000 for every year after that. I make that sweet journalism money. My wife makes that sweet high school teacher money. Enough said.
Plus, the idea of a Permanent Seat License is kind of ridiculous. You can’t get season tickets without a PSL. You’re paying for the right to pay for tickets. In theory, you’re funding the stadium’s “construction debt and ongoing maintenance,” but you can kind of throw that out the window since the team convinced the city to pay it $87.5 million for stadium upgrades a couple years ago.
PRO: Family bonding.
I’m one of those lucky guys who has a wife who also loves football. We put on our jerseys each Sunday, sit on the couch together, yell at the team and say “Man, that Cam Newton just has so much dadgum fun playing football!”
Cam Newton went off like Hulk Hogan when the Panthers hit 13-0https://t.co/6baCx7N7FH
— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 14, 2015
We would have a blast doing that in the stadium.
CON: Eventual family growth.
At some point in the future we would like to have kids — NO THIS IS NOT ANY KIND OF ANNOUNCEMENT, MOMS. When we have this (HYPOTHETICAL) child, what do we do on game days? For the first 12 months, at least, it could share a seat with us. But after that, do we leave the kid at home? Do I leave my wife at home and bring the kid? Do we plop down another $2,000 to get another seat? Do we sneak in rapelling gear and dangle the baby off the upper deck? (It’s a joke, people.)
Clearly, I need some help. Have thoughts or tips? Shoot me a tweet or an email. I’m bad at big life decisions.
Help me, C5ers. You’re my only hope.
Photo: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer; Charlotte Observer file photo