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Only The Diehards Remain: Is Fan Interest Down This Season?

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Growing up in Charlotte, I have a number of friends I grew up with that are as big of Panthers fans as me. At this point in life, I seem to only keep in touch with some of them on Panthers game days. My phone is usually buzzing with texts from these guys after big plays and bonehead mistakes during the game. Afterward we usually dissect the game and offer hopes and disappointments. This started to change late last season when a lot of us lost interest in watching the Panthers get blown on in the last few meaningless games.

This Sunday was different than a normal Week 1. I sent out a few texts asking if any of these guys were watching the game. I barely heard from anyone. Later on Sunday after the game, I heard back from a few of the guys basically saying the game wasn’t a priority to them and they did other things yesterday.

There’s also a guy who I met in Austin (who is not originally from NC) who posted on the Huddle for awhile. He was a big Panthers fan during the heyday of 2015. I asked him what he thought of the team this year before the season started. He straight up said he’s following Cam up to New England. Not being from NC, I’m not surprised to see some bandwagon fans like this move on. The Panthers have probably lost just about every bandwagon fan from the 2015 season at this point. Only the diehards seem to remain.

Just wanted to share my story. I was disappointed seeing how little interest there was in the game amongst people who are usually big fans. Hopefully this starts to change after the Panthers finally snap their current 9 game losing streak.

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Low expectations equals low interest. On top of that, a lot of the population has bigger worries going on right now. I also don’t want this topic to get political but a certain faction of the population has stopped watching based on internal beliefs (whether misled or not). 

All this sums up to a quiet start to a era of Carolina Panthers football. I promise, if we start winning Consistently it will go right back to where it was in 2015. 

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I mean of course interest will be down. Can’t go to games and everyone knows we aren’t a playoff team. For folks like me, I’m interested in seeing which young guys develop and I’m interested to see where we end up in the draft. Yes, I know it’s way to early but I love the draft and the possibility of replacing Cam with a potential real franchise QB is a real thing. Sure, Teddy played well against a bad D, but Teddy will never be 2015 Cam (no chance Teddy gets us to SB 50) and as a Panthers fan that’s what I’d love to have again.

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2 minutes ago, Adb6368 said:

Low expectations equals low interest. On top of that, a lot of the population has bigger worries going on right now. I also don’t want this topic to get political but a certain faction of the population has stopped watching based on internal beliefs (whether misled or not). 

All this sums up to a quiet start to a era of Carolina Panthers football. I promise, if we start winning Consistently it will go right back to where it was in 2015. 

Great points. I thought I’d be glued to MLB and NBA because there was nothing else but I’ve been kind of disinterested in general. Football is a bit different since it’s my favorite sport but yeah, there’s a poo load going on now. 

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Lots of factors. All the marquee names fans loved are gone(of the group I watched with none of us owns a jersey of an active player), the COVID situation, the "external factors" and the overall expectation that the team is going to be terrible all play a role.

It is what it is. I don't necessarily blame some people for taking a break. For me, even though we stink, I am glad to have football back.

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I think a lot of people even die hard fans are taking this year with an asterisk. The virus has the whole world feeling differently about most aspects of life. As mentioned, people are giving their energy to making ends meet, staying safe, the vitriol and hate that has comsumded the nation, the election...etc. It is a weird and historic time in history.

I think next year when hopefully things will be back to normal in regards to our fans. This year isnt a throw away, but like I said it deserves an asterisk.

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8 minutes ago, hepcat said:

Growing up in Charlotte, I have a number of friends I grew up with that are as big of Panthers fans as me. At this point in life, I seem to only keep in touch with some of them on Panthers game days. My phone is usually buzzing with texts from these guys after big plays and bonehead mistakes during the game. Afterward we usually dissect the game and offer hopes and disappointments. This started to change late last season when a lot of us lost interest in watching the Panthers get blown on in the last few meaningless games.

This Sunday was different than a normal Week 1. I sent out a few texts asking if any of these guys were watching the game. I barely heard from anyone. Later on Sunday after the game, I heard back from a few of the guys basically saying the game wasn’t a priority to them and they did other things yesterday.

There’s also a guy who I met in Austin (who is not originally from NC) who posted on the Huddle for awhile. He was a big Panthers fan during the heyday of 2015. I asked him what he thought of the team this year before the season started. He straight up said he’s following Cam up to New England. Not being from NC, I’m not surprised to see some bandwagon fans like this move on. The Panthers have probably lost just about every bandwagon fan from the 2015 season at this point. Only the diehards seem to remain.

Just wanted to share my story. I was disappointed seeing how little interest there was in the game amongst people who are usually big fans. Hopefully this starts to change after the Panthers finally snap their current 9 game losing streak.

This is what happens when you have a combination of things.

There is a pandemic going on.

There's a giant turd baby in charge of our country, currently running it into the ground, supported loudly and ignorantly by other turd babies.

People are still trying to get social justice for and repair the damage done by a capitalist system and its enforcers.

The organization we follow, and most of us the for the majority of our lives, just ran its only franchise QB ever out of town, along with over half the team we've known for a few years.

We also have a new coaching staff.

 

I watched all the game, sure. But I sure as hell did everything I could to keep up with what Cam was doing too.

Call it what you will, but I am still a Panthers fan and always will be.

The truth of the matter is that there are bigger problems going on in the world right now, and I want to see Cam Newton succeed wherever he is. Same as a lot of players that leave here, especially under not-so-great circumstances.

The Panthers existed before Cam Newton. Football, and caring about your favorite athletes existed long before the Panthers. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

 

 

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My dad won't watch if he sees anything political in a sports match he's out. He left Nascar, NBA and now NFL. 

My phone usually blows up during the game no one called me yesterday. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Ready 2 Win said:

I think a lot of people even die hard fans are taking this year with an asterisk. The virus has the whole world feeling differently about most aspects of life. As mentioned, people are giving their energy to making ends meet, staying safe, the vitriol and hate that has comsumded the nation, the election...etc. It is a weird and historic time in history.

I think next year when hopefully things will be back to normal in regards to our fans. This year isnt a throw away, but like I said it deserves an asterisk.

Even if the unrest and political divide didn't exist, I think most sports are definitely asterisk worthy due to the COVID mayhem.

That said, I wouldn't be turning any titles back in, asterisk or not. The Pats certainly haven't.

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I've spoke to some folks in the franchise about this as well as having my own data which pretty much morris theirs.

Yes, overall interest is down a bit. 10-15% are more interested in Cam than Carolina, but they were never Panthers fans to begin with. 

For those of us that have been around a while, fan interest is higher now than many seasons BC (before Cam). The franchise is more established, more kids have grown up Panthers fans. 

Throw in the lack of OTAs, preseason, no chance to really get to know the new players and I am actually fairly surprised that there is as much interest as there is today, and it will only increase as the fans become more familiar and invested in the characters (players) .

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People are taking on more constructive hobbies. I know I felt like I wasted a day of mountain biking or hiking.

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There's a lot of reasons, some Panthers related others not.

We've sucked for the last few years. Ultimately, people get tired of sucking.

We've parted with virtually every popular player we had minus CMC. 

There's a global pandemic going on.

It's an election year and it's even more contentious than usual.

There's widespread social unrest and the folks who want to use sports as an escape from all of the above aren't going to like that sports are throwing it in their face again. That doesn't necessarily mean they're racists or don't care, it's just that when every time you turn on the TV and you're bombarded by the same stuff at some point you want to get away from it for a bit.

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4 minutes ago, The Huddler said:

im a whole lot less "die hard" and my life is a whole let better for it. 

 

yeah, i watch every game if I can and I don't get my hopes up, and i've learned to enjoy the games win or lose. 

 

but i dont let being a Panther fan "define" me like it has in the past. I don't let the outcome of the game dictate how i feel about life. I used to be that guy. I had such low self esteem i didnt have poo going for me in life and the Panthers were a crutch (2015), and my huddle pie and reputation meant something to me. I no longer use the Panthers to distract me from how shitty at life i was doing  thats a dangerous game cause if they lose or disappoint, theres going to be an emotional crash 

 

so i can identify those types of people on this site cause ive been there, and I pity them. so emotionally caught up in something they cant control and they rage like the emotionally insecure and immature man babies they are. I know who the basement toads are. 

Same!  I've been working towards this mentality for a few years.

I love the Panthers.  I've grown up with them since that 95 season.  I still remember Sam Mills and the shovel pass interception.  I think in my 30s though things changed for me, life, family, work, etc.  I'm still very passionate about my team, but it's tempered with reality.  Of life, the NFL, and chances.

Most of my friends aren't as into things this season.  Sure, my die hard football buds and I are still talking about things.  When you dump the faces of the franchise, the average joes aren't going to care as much.  You add in the pandemic, the current culture in the US, and it gets really hard to care about something as trivial as football.

I'm a fan, I loved having the games.  Sure, I would have loved a win, but I'm so interested to see how the team grows and changes.  

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