South Carolina is laid-back and steeped in the sports of football and fishing, much in the manner of its Deep South brethren, Georgia and Alabama. "You start at the South Carolina line," says Green, "and go on out through the Sunbelt, and football—especially college football—is important to people's sense of worth. Up here in North Carolina there hasn't ever been any good football—at least not since Charlie Justice played [at the University of North Carolina in the 1940s]."
That didn't keep North Carolinians from purchasing approximately 50,000 Permanent Seat Licenses (a Muhleman creation that builds additional revenue by requiring fans to pay from $700 to $5,400 for the right to purchase season tickets). The Panthers gave their Permanent Seat License owners the option to start buying season tickets for either the 1995 or '96 season and got only 28,000 takers for '95. McCormack had hoped to make up the difference with one-year season-ticket sales to South Carolinians but fell 7,000 short of that goal.
No matter. The Panthers are a critical success and have already done something no one thought possible three months ago. They have won more games this year than have the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants or the Washington Redskins. That achievement should be enough to keep Carolina fans in both states happy—at least until next season.
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