The Carolina Panthers will charge $5 for tickets to Fan Fest, a fan-friendly practice at Bank of America Stadium. Although the money will go to the team’s charities ($300,000), I wish they hadn’t decided to charge. Like training camp practices in Spartanburg, Fan Fest has always been free.
The problem is that at some free events, there’s a mad scramble for access and for seats. Fans want to get close to players they are accustomed to seeing on TV. It’s as unwieldy as an autograph session multiplied by 50. Kids risk getting overrun. If during the Coca-Cola 600 you’ve been to Speed Street in downtown Charlotte, you understand.
Last season the Panthers distributed 60,000 tickets, and they were scooped up in one day.
I understand the need for order. I wish there were a way to impose it without compelling fans to pay.
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I write this every year, but it remains true. The better show is in Spartanburg. Practices will be more intense than at Fan Fest, the crowd will be smaller and it’s an easy trip down and back. ...
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