SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers have a new naming rights deal, one that comes with the team set to open the defense of its Eastern Conference championship and having finally established itself as a true Stanley Cup contender.
The Panthers announced Tuesday that Amerant Bank will have its name on the team’s home arena going forward. The team only disclosed that it is a multi-year deal and did not reveal financial specifics, though president and CEO Matthew Caldwell pointed to the move as another big off-ice win for a team that is enjoying its best on-ice stretch.
“Starting with the 2021-22 season, when we won the Presidents’ Trophy, we broke every franchise record in ticket revenue, sponsorship, attendance, our ancillary business,” Caldwell said. “And then last year, we shattered all that. It’s hard to be a top-tier team unless you have the success on the ice.”
The Panthers have played in their current arena since 1998. It has changed names on five other occasions in that quarter-century, starting as National Car Rental Center, then becoming Office Depot Center, Bank United Center, BB&T Center and most recently FLA Live Arena.
Having the naming-rights deal available with the team making a Stanley Cup final run — in All-Star MVP Matthew Tkachuk’s first season with the team — was an obvious advantage in the negotiating process, Caldwell said. The team saw an attendance increase of nearly 13% last season and has seen the average crowd on game nights increase nearly 49% over the past eight years.
“We were making progress, but it was a lot of baby steps, chipping away, cleaning things up from the past, getting some more fans here, getting some more sponsors there,” Caldwell said. “But winning and the excitement of the team and these deep playoff runs we’ve had, especially going to the Stanley Cup final last year, nothing can match that.”
The Panthers will hold the first practice of this season's training camp Thursday.
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