Last year, when I sat down to write about the state of the Roaring Riot, I keyed in on the feeling of hope that I had from, what at the time, seemed like some very positive changes and direction the organization and team was heading. Wow, was I totally wrong, or what?

The only times I’m more wrong are when I’m laying my – now legal in NC – weekend sports bets. What seemed like a hopeful time for the Panthers turned into, in my opinion, the worst season in the team’s history. I honestly had a hard time watching most of the games. So much was bad with the team and the coaching staff that at times I wasn’t even sure they were a professional football team. And, let’s just be honest, the games weren’t fun. It was the first time in all of my years as a fan that I started evaluating the cost of games, the time spent there, and the product on the field, and it came out to be a waste of my time.

Pretty sad place to be and I’m sure – I mean, I KNOW – many of you were also there.

But, just as I usually am in April, here I am sucked in again and ready for the 2024 season.

I know I was fooled last season by the coaching moves and should take pause about being excited for this new staff, but when comparing the two and why I thought last year’s was going to be good vs. this new staff, there are measurable differences. And good ones. Weirdly, it seems like having a year of Bryce under center and learning more about what he needs to be a successful franchise QB has allowed the organization to now build a staff, scheme, and personnel around HIM. I like that.

I also like how it seems like, for the first time since Cam, the Panthers are “OK” with what is going to be a multi-year process to get to consistent winning. Trading Burns, allowing Frankie to leave, moves like that show me that they’re embracing sort of wiping the slate clean and allowing Dan Morgan to build this thing correctly. I think we all wish they would have just made this move several years ago, but that is neither here nor there, because this is where we’re at. Seeing them have a more clear picture and direction for the future definitely makes it a little easier to understand that there is still a process here to get back to good. So instead of last year’s “Hope” maybe the theme for this year is a “Vision”.

I’m OK with that.

And while watching Bryce’s rookie season ended up being the opposite of the excitement of what I was expecting, the moves they have made with the coaching staff and on the offensive side of the ball so far should, at least, deliver a much greater opportunity to be successful. So hopefully we’ll get that excitement and future “vision” this season.

As for our Roaring Riot community. We’re hanging in there, but it’s obviously been a struggle. Fans haven’t had anything to feel excited about, and I get it. Hell, I am right there with them. Our tailgate numbers are down – our trip numbers are down – our membership cancellations are up. It’s not great right now and there is no way to sugarcoat it.


We do have things to look forward to. Our membership core is still very solid. Many of you are discouraged, but you haven’t thrown in the towel and are just champing at the bit to get hype again. You still care – which is saying a lot for what we have been through. We are headed overseas again this season! We have close to 600 deposits for Germany already and have built out an incredible week in Munich for you. And while we may not be traveling to EVERY away game like we used to, we do have some very cool cities this season – Vegas, Denver, Chicago – and seem to have some good interest in getting out for those.

Our Tailgates With A Purpose events are still a good time and we are continuing to add new things each season to make them even better and more exciting. Our charity donations aren’t what they were due to the smaller attendance, but we’re still able to positively impact the Roaring Riot Foundation and have some cool plans to use those funds this season that we will share in a few months.

In that vein, we’ll be raising the price of memberships this season by five dollars. We’ve prided ourselves on trying to keep memberships as affordable as possible (we’ve raised prices $10 in just under a decade) but there are many reasons for these increases, but it boils down to these two:

  • Higher cost of goods: The cost of the membership package itself has gone up, food at the tailgate is more expensive (have you been to the grocery store recently?!?!?!) and everything is more expensive in general, from tents to tables to plates to koozies.
  • Tailgate Space: Our area on the tracks used to be free, the lot we use now costs tens of thousands of dollar for us to rent per year – the past two years we have been able to donate less and less to charity because of this. We’re commited to putting on an awesome party each week in a great location but that’s been harder and more expensive as the years have gone on.

So, with all things considered, we’re OK. Like Josh likes to say, we’re “good not great”, and that is OK for now. We’re still here – YOU’RE still here.

But that leads me to the theme for this season’s membership package. Like the Panthers, we, too, have embraced where we currently are as a fan community. Even though there are so many factors out of our control that lead to our success, we also know that we can, and will, always try to do more and better for all of you. So we are embracing having smaller-than-before membership numbers, and smaller and fewer away game experiences, and we’re going to start to “Rebuild the Roar”.

This year’s theme plays to knowing that, as fans, we’ve experienced the lowest of lows in our history, but we’re going to start that upward trajectory from here. We’re going to “Rebuild the Roar”. On and off the field, it starts NOW! Like I hear all the time, can you really enjoy the great times if you didn’t suffer through the low times? We have all suffered plenty, but now we’re going to ride the next few years together to get back to where we want to be. WE, all of us, are going to “Rebuild the Roar”.

We hope that you, too, are ready to get back out in 2024. We’re running Kickoff Jam back for its second year on September 14th with a really fun lineup. We’ll obviously have a solid roster of Panthers legends like we did last season. It’s going to be a great day and fun way to start the season, and we hope you all will join us again.

Thank you all for all of your continued support over the years and especially through these down years. You all are the reason we continue to try and do cool things for our fanbase. We KNOW you all deserve it.

Cheers to 2024!

Let’s have some fun.

Zack Luttrell on InstagramZack Luttrell on Twitter
Zack Luttrell
Ringleader at Roaring Riot
Zack Luttrell is the Ringleader of the Roaring Riot. He enjoys tailgating, dreaming of tailgating, thinking of ways to tailgate more/better, and chasing his son Raymond and daughter Reese around the house.