Carolina Panthers will charge for Fan Fest tickets for the first - | WBTV Charlotte

Carolina Panthers will charge for Fan Fest tickets for the first time

Fans gather outside waiting to enter Bank of America Stadium for Fan Fest Aug. 5, 2016. (Jeff Siner | The Charlotte Observer) Fans gather outside waiting to enter Bank of America Stadium for Fan Fest Aug. 5, 2016. (Jeff Siner | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Katherine Peralta/The Charlotte Observer) - For the first time, the Carolina Panthers are charging fans for their annual Fan Fest, the traditionally free practice and fireworks show that will be held Aug. 4 at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers say they are charging $5 per ticket because of “an increased demand and precautions for fan safety.” All proceeds from Fan Fest will be donated to the team’s charitable arm, the Carolina Panthers Charities.

Following a near-perfect 2015 season, the Panthers were overwhelmed with Fan Fest demand last summer when the team started requiring that fans reserve and print out a free ticket beforehand. Within a day, all 60,000 tickets were claimed. Some fans expressed frustration at the new system, as many were left without tickets. Rain deterred many fans from showing up, though.

Before the event, several free tickets were being sold on Craigslist – some for as high as $100.

Bank of America Stadium has a capacity for over 75,000, but because the event concludes with a fireworks show, fans can’t be seated in the upper level of the end zones for safety reasons. In 2015, the Panthers had 55,000 fans attend Fan Fest, which was the most in the team’s history. For the three years before that, 25,000 fans showed up.

Fan Fest this year runs from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The Panthers’ other training camp practices in Spartanburg remain free and open to the public. Camp will run from July 26-Aug. 13 at Wofford College.

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