by: Scott Wickersham Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The Carolina Panthers are celebrating a NFC South Division championship, a two-seed in the playoffs and a much needed bye week.
“(It’s) satisfying, but not satisfied. It’s a goal you set for your team, but there is a lot more left to go,” said head coach Ron Rivera on Monday.
The team will host a playoff game in two weeks opening the opportunities for uptown businesses to cash in.
The Panthers team store was bustling Monday, one day after the team won its first division championship in five years.
Fans paid top dollar for jerseys and hats that were on the bargain rack just a few months ago.
SLIDESHOW: Fans welcome Panthers home after beating Falcons for division title
“I was looking for a new jersey. I was wanting a black one,” said one Panther fan.
The playoff buzz is attracting fans to uptown Charlotte, where Mellow Mushroom just opened one block away from Bank of America Stadium.
They expect four times the normal business on game day.
“January is usually your slowest month, so it’s nice to look forward to some business you did not expect to have,” said co-owner Mark Keiffer.
And hotel owners expect sold out nights like they had with the Panthers Monday Night matchup against New England in November.
“We’re expecting a city on fire,” said Moira Quinn with Center City Partners.
Rivera thanks fans after division title win
Center City Partners is discussing special events to make the day even bigger.
“A lot of it is guided by the Panthers’ wants and the city wants, so we’re talking about it,” said Quinn.
Perhaps the biggest financial winner will be team owner Jerry Richardson.
Money made from playoff games and TV revenues are a bonus for NFL teams.
Last year, each teams’ player received a $22,000 bonus for making it to the division playoff.
SLIDESHOW: Panthers beat Falcons 21-20
It’s all good to die-hard fans who make nothing from it, but definitely get something in return.
“It’s awesome, just awesome. (We’ve) been waiting for this for five years,” said another fan.
The Panthers said a limited number of tickets for the playoff game will go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. for sale through Ticketmaster only.
The Panthers' ticket office will not be selling them.
For more information on playoff tickets, click here.
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