Carolina Panthers home attendance falls to lowest point in past decade.
The Carolina Panthers began 2019 with back-to-back home losses in a span of less than a week. After opening regular season play with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina dropped their first divisional matchup to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in front of a national audience on Thursday night football. Following, it was revealed quarterback Cam Newton aggravated a foot injury and he was never seen on the field again.
Briefly the Panthers rallied behind backup Kyle Allen, winning five of their next six but any momentum built through the midway point quickly evaporated during the second half. Losing eight straight to conclude the season, Carolina endured their second such collapse in a two-year span resulting in owner David Tepper firing coach Ron Rivera.
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Eliminated from playoff consideration early, the Panthers attendance figures also took a hit during the slide ending at a new 10-year low. Carolina reported 577,765 in attendance through the eight home games of 2019 – a drop of over 12,000 from one year ago and less than the decade’s previous low of 578,342 from the 2011 season.
The Panthers finished 6-10 that year with Newton as a rookie signal caller. While the drop was likely a culmination of his absence from the playing field and compiling losses, Tepper undoubtedly has to be somewhat concerned about the future of his product.
Hiring former Baylor coach Matt Rhule appears to have sparked interest and has the fan base excited about the future but decisions about Newton, tight end Greg Olsen and whether the franchise goes into full rebuild mode could also impact attendance numbers next year.
Despite the drop, there is a silver lining for Tepper as the franchise remained in the top-10 (No. 8 overall) for all teams. Consistently ranking between sixth and eighth in the NFL, the Panthers two-percent decrease also falls in line with the overall drop in average attendance around the league.