Fans gather outside waiting to enter Bank of America Stadium for Fan Fest Aug. 5, 2016. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Fans gather outside waiting to enter Bank of America Stadium for Fan Fest Aug. 5, 2016. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

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

By Katherine Peralta

kperalta@charlotteobserver.com

July 10, 2017 06:22 PM

UPDATED July 11, 2017 01:03 PM

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.

The tickets will be available on July 22 at 10 a.m., through Ticketmaster.com, which fans can access by clicking “Fan Fest Tickets” in the “Hot Topics” section on the homepage of Panthers.com, or by choosing “Fan Fest” in the Tickets dropdown menu, according to Panthers.com. Tickets are limited to six per household. As a giveaway, each fans gets a 2017 team roster photo card, the team said.

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.

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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.

Gates of Fan Fest open at 6 p.m., and practice starts at 7:30 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.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta