As most of us know, being a Panthers fan is one emotional roller coaster. Of course there’s the up and down seasons, logging on to Twitter to constantly defend your quarterback, watching every NFL team be able to make big moves in free agency but yours always manages to rank in the bottom half of the league in funds so they have to be fiscally responsible each year with who they throw their money at. It’s hard, I know. But there’s always the good times. Whether it be singing “Sweet Caroline” as the Panthers secure a big victory or cracking open a cold beverage with your best friends at the tailgate, every Panthers fan has their great memories. There’s one group in particular who have dedicated their lives to ensuring fans can create these memories. The Roaring Riot.
As a Panthers fan you probably have heard of the Riot by now, or at least have heard of “those guys who plan the Panthers trips?” Which is what people would say to describe the Riot during their early years, according to Riot founder, Zack Luttrell. The Riot have worked tirelessly to try and escape that phrase, and have succeeded in doing just that.
If you don’t know, the Riot started out as a group of friends who simply tailgated at Panthers games like plenty of friend groups out there. However, they had a larger vision brewing than just tasting different brews on Sunday morning. Anyone who’s been to a Panthers home game knows how annoying it can be when they host a team such as the Cowboys, Packers or Redskins. It’s practically an away game for the Panthers in their own stadium. There aren’t many things worse than having to sit next to a Dallas fan who’s trying to convince you that Dak Prescott is better quarterback than Cam Newton.
At any rate, the Riot wanted to mirror this traveling fan base and create this away presence for the Panthers during road games. It all started back in 2009 when they planned their first away trip in Atlanta against the Falcons. Starting then through 2014 they continued to plan these away trips but struggled to create a brand for themselves that would be known among the fan base and again not just “the guys planning Panthers trip” tag. And then the 2015 Super Bowl appearance season occurred.
“In the summer of 2015 we launched our membership program and worked with six other cities where [local] Panthers bars already existed to be a part of the network and we launched the Union of the Roaring Riot,” Luttrell said in a recent interview with The Queen’s Guard. “The Panthers opened that season in Jacksonville and we took 550 fans to that game; our largest group before that had been around 90. The Panthers also helped us out by going 15-1 that season. It was really a perfect storm for trying to build our membership base and we’ve continued to increase our membership base by more than 50% year after year since then.”
Since that season our friends at the Riot have grown massively into what we know it as today. They’ve branched outside of just being those guys tailgating at away games into launching their own fully credentialed media group called The Riot Report and have made buying and selling Panthers tickets easy by create the The Riot Exchange, a forum that links you with other users looking to buy or sell tickets, and they’re not done yet. We’ve also seen prominent Panthers players like Newton rocking their sweet membership gear at press conferences.
“It was tremendously successful.” Luttrell said. “We’ve got some new plans for this season as well, that we’ll be announcing in the next few months, so you’ll have to stay tuned for that.”
There’s no telling what they’re bringing to the table next. What we do know is that the Panthers are playing a big division matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers overseas in London next season and you can bet the Riot is already have their finger prints all over it. If you’re wanting to make the journey to the UK but don’t know where to start, look no further than the Riot for help. They’ve created multiple travel packages to ensure that you and your friends and family can enjoy the trip without the stress of having to actually plan it. It’s surely going to be a massive event and you surely will regret missing out on this epic experience with our friends at the Royal Riot.
Yes, they’re over there as well.
“London is one of the best cities in the world, so I personally believe every fan should be pumped about the opportunity to have a once in a lifetime experience to see their favorite team abroad.” Luttrell said. “And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way; we currently have over 950 Panthers fans who have paid deposits to reserve their spots on The London Calling Away Game Experience. The idea of a thousand Panthers fans rolling through the streets of London together is incredible and I can’t wait.”
Hopefully the Panthers will be in better shape at that point of the season than they were at the end of this recent one. Luttrell described the 2018 year as a “major disappointment” in how Carolina started off so strong, and wound up missing the playoffs at 6-10. Luttrell doesn’t want to see any sad faces leaving the stadium in London. For any away game –since their trips are really just vacations with the plus of being able to watch your Panthers play– with the Riot you shouldn’t be worried about traveling to experience a loss. There’s more to it than just watching the game.
No matter where there’s a Panther game, there’s more than likely a Riot group taking up an entire section. Making a name for Panthers fans around the globe. Thanks to the Riot, and many others of course, Carolina fans are as a unified as ever and arguably represent one of the strongest fan bases the NFL has to offer. Hopefully this energy can circulate to our other beloved Carolina teams like the Hornets and Hurricanes one day. For now, The Riot has plenty planned for the future and lets hope and that one of those things can be a potential Riot Super Bowl trip at the end of this upcoming season.
For now, try out their Roaring Riot Pale Ale from NoDa Brewing Co and Keep Pounding.