If you hold Carolina Panthers tickets for Sunday’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys, you are in luck.
You have in your hands — or on your phone — tickets for the most heavily anticipated Panthers home opener in more than a dozen years.
And you also have a decision to make: To sell your tickets for a sweet profit or to go to the game and count on the Panthers rewarding your faith.
Tickets are selling on the secondary markets for triple — or even quadruple — face value. Right now the going rate is about $200 (including the dreaded handling fee) for nosebleed upper-level seats, and $500-$1,000 for seats in the lower deck.
I asked my Twitter followers this weekend whether they would consider selling if they had tickets. It’s inevitable some Cowboys fans are going to buy their way into the stadium, anyway, and you can watch the game on your HDTV. So would you be tempted?
Here are a few of the responses, edited for clarity and brevity.
▪ “Sold mine in Section 121 two months ago for $500 apiece. I justify it because it helps to subsidize the PSL license, and those Panthers fans that (complain) about not selling to locals for face value when we are good are never around to pay face (value) when we stink.”
▪ “I bought the seats to attend these games, not a way to make money.”
▪ “I sold mine at face value to my neighbors. No sense in ripping off people.”
▪ “As tempting as it may to be to sell in this instance, we love the games too much!’
▪ “No chance I would ever sell my game ticket. If you need $$ how can you afford a PSL?”
▪ “Never been tempted to sell my tickets…. I have sat through too many games surrounded by fans of opposing team. It can ruin a home game experience.”
▪ “I am unemployed and really need the money, but going to the games is the one thing I do for ME.”
▪ “People my age (late 20s/early 30s) know it’s up to us to change the culture. Too many transplants have allowed our stadium to be filled with opposing teams’ fan bases for far too long.”
Of course, if you are selling your tickets to a Cowboys fan for big bucks, you aren’t likely to advertise it. I applaud efforts like the one put forth by the “Roaring Riot” — a Panthers fan club that has a goal of changing the culture of Carolina fans and runs its own ticket exchange that is only open to members. But I also think if you own PSLs, they are your tickets, and you can do with them what you wish.
As for Sunday, the buildup should be great. Beyond that, who knows?
The last time I can remember a Carolina Panthers home opener that was hyped like this one was in 2004.
Panthers vs. Green Bay. Monday Night Football. Carolina coming off a Super Bowl appearance. Green Bay rolling into town with Brett Favre under the prime-time lights.
It had even more trappings than Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. home opener against the Dallas Cowboys — and it all fell apart for Carolina. Green Bay sped to a 24-7 lead. Steve Smith broke his leg late in the game and wouldn’t play for the rest of the season. Carolina not only lost the game and Smith, but the opener began a downpour of bad news as Carolina started the season 1-7.
And then there was 2016. Another huge season opener for Carolina, although this one was on the road at Denver. Carolina lost the Super Bowl rematch, with Graham Gano missing a last-second 50-yard field goal, and ended up posting a 6-10 record.
All that is to say that maybe Sunday works out beautifully for Panthers fans and the Panthers blast Dallas like they did on that Thanksgiving Day game in 2015. And maybe it doesn’t. Carolina’s offensive line and secondary are perennial question marks. But the Panthers also have Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.
Ultimately, you’ll have to make your own decision on the tickets.
But whether you go in person or press the button on a remote, this one will be very hard not to watch.