Tuesday, March 21, 2023

South Florida Playoff Watch-Party Showdown: Florida Panthers vs. Miami Heat

South Florida Playoff Watch-Party Showdown: Florida Panthers Vs. Miami Heat

mice! What’s a Miami Heat-loving Florida Panthers fan — and vice versa — to do this week?

As the NBA’s Heat and the NHL’s Panthers prepare to start the next round in their respective playoffs, the NHL on Monday revealed a Panthers schedule that was similar to the one announced for the first heat.

“You’re kidding me,” said Deerfield Beach Heat fan Raymond Gill, who usually watches games at his local Duffy Sports Grill. “Now I have to share TV with Panthers fans? That’s cool, but the flow and vibe are totally different. ,

Gill may already have his seat, as the Panthers start first.

The Panthers schedule in the Best of Seven playoffs includes games at the FLA Live Arena at Sunrise on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., then Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and Tampa Bay on Mondays at 7 p.m. If they are required, games will take place on May 25, 27 and 29 at the time of TBD.

The Heat plays at the FTX Arena in Miami on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., then in Boston on Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30 p.m. If that series goes beyond four games, they too will be held at TBD on May 25, 27 and 29.

After weeks of anticipation over these playoffs, the realization that a fan of both teams may not be able to watch them live and uninterrupted for many games is a buzzword.

Panthers season ticket holder Mauricio Cardenal has long held season tickets to the Miami Heat since the team’s magical 1995–96 Stanley Cup run tossed rubber rats on the ice. Cardinal said he would have tried to attend games for both teams.

“It just sucks. The last few weeks [Heat and Panthers] The playoffs, it’s been every other night, and it’s given a great opportunity to the fan base here. They can shift from one sport to another, from one team to another, and stay excited,” said the 49-year-old Cardenal of Coral Gables. “Now it’s, ‘Okay, I have to decide, one or the other.'”

Adding to the disappointment, this is the first time the Heat and Panthers have advanced so far into the playoffs at the same time, each seeded top and each facing a bitter opponent – ​​the Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics, Florida Panthers Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning.

Chrissy Parent, Florida Panthers corporate communications manager, said the schedule is a product of a “complicated puzzle” of broadcast rights and construction commitments among the eight teams left in the NHL playoffs.

“Obviously for Florida fans, this is unfortunate,” Parent said. “The Panthers are in contact regarding management and NHL scheduling.”

Cardinal isn’t sure what his plans are yet for home games at the Heat’s FTX Arena and the Panthers’ FLA Live Arena, saying he could alternate between the two teams. Watching the road game at home, he plans to follow up the Panthers game until the end, then switch to the Heat.

“Comeback Cats, they’re fun to watch, they’re never out of it,” he said, then admitted, “I’m more nervous about the Panthers than the Heat.”

The schedule has created a unique situation for South Florida bars and restaurants, which are trying to set up watch parties that cater to each fan base with a limited number of TVs.

Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park is an official Florida Panthers bar. It has a taproom at the FLA Live Arena and hosts road-game watch parties that stand-room-only have been popular as the team navigated the season to the playoffs.

The brewery and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale are hosting a free, family-friendly Panthers Watch Party for team games at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Esplanade Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, said Marketing Director John Lynn.

But the brewery also has a business partnership with Miami Heat, Lin said.

“Isn’t this crazy? Somebody needs to go ahead with one of these series,” he said with a laugh.

A typical Panthers watch party at Funky Buddha includes four large projector screens, sound on, in addition to the small TV above the bar. Lynn said that “some” Heat will be tuned for the game while the Panthers are on.

A signature of watch parties are free servings of the brewery’s Panthers-themed Gloves of IPAs after someone in Panthers gear wins. If both teams win then Lynn will commit to another free beer for anyone wearing a Jimmy Butler shirt under the Aaron Eckblad jersey.

“I can’t support a double dip, but it would be a good day in the taproom,” he said.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached here [email protected],


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