Note: The guy in the featured image is not the author of this article. The following are not his words.
If you are a diehard Carolina Panthers fan and desire watching the games in an exciting environment filled with high energy and like-minded people, then maybe it’s time for you to start your own Roaring Riot chapter! We want to help set you up for success in the best ways possible, so here is a very general overview of what you can expect on your journey. Before we get started, let’s lay the foundation. The first step to starting a chapter is to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and express your interest. Let them know who you are and what city you would like to unite together. As soon as possible, someone will get back to you and let you know if there is already an effort in your area. If there is, then that is an amazing opportunity because tackling this on your own is an overwhelming task!
Once you’ve touched base with the national administration, your next step is to find a restaurant or bar that is willing to commit to showing every Carolina Panthers game (pre-season is not mandatory, but it definitely helps) on a primary television and broadcast game audio. You may have to work with them at first in order to show the business that you have enough interest to make it worth their while. For example, maybe they will commit to guaranteeing game audio once you consistently show up with 10-15 members. This will entirely depend on the management and popularity of your location.
You’ve been given the green light and you’ve got a location. Next, you’ll want to create a social media presence in order to start attracting your crowd. Building a New Roaring Riot Chapter is another article that was written to address this exact task. It’s important at this point to understand there are three levels of existence. At first, you will be an interest group looking for people willing to become paid Roaring Riot members. Once you reach 7 paid members, you qualify as an affiliate chapter. Now is the time to capitalize on your momentum and really start pushing hard! Get your paid membership numbers up to 25 and you will be a full chapter! Keep in mind that paid membership offers benefits, but it is never a requirement for people to join the group while watching the games. Priority number one must always remain supporting the Carolina Panthers regardless of circumstances. Paid membership exists only to provide additional benefits, such as group seating at games and the ability to participate in destination trips hosted nationally. Speaking of destination trips, you will qualify for some pretty great discounts and perks if you dedicate the time to being a chapter founder/leader!
The absolute biggest obstacle you have facing you is commitment. You have to be dedicated to the cause. Showing up for the game at your restaurant/bar is crucial. Every – Single – Week! Be there!
Being a Roaring Riot group leader can take a significant amount of time each week. During the season, significantly dedicated leaders easily spend 30-40 hours building and maintaining our relationships. The amazing thing about this is that the few of us that have worked so hard to make Charm City Riot become a reality have become truly good friends. If one person is sick or has a commitment, we are quick to pick up the duties and cover for them. At the end of the day, this will be an “extracurricular activity” for most of us, but it feels less like work and more like fueling a passion.
During the off-season, I expect to spend approximately 5-10 hours each week planning a few get-togethers in order to keep our group momentum moving forward. Again, this is an area where you can work in a group and have one person assume the role of event manager. You will also receive guidance and assistance through all of the chapters in accomplishing these tasks.
How quickly can you expect to see results? This depends greatly on your level of dedication and your ability to reach your target audience. Capital Riot (Washington, DC) has hundreds of people watching the games at Lucky Bar each week. They have been around in one form or another since 2004. On the flip side, you have us. Charm City Riot has been around for only a few months. From the date that we decided we were going to move forward to the date we submitted a roster of 25 paid members, and having a weekly crowd of approximately 30-35 people watching the game together at Tin Roof, exactly 90 days had passed. Again, that was 30-40 hours per week continuously for three months. It has certainly been worth it, but we were also very lucky. Many groups will achieve affiliate status quickly and then sit in a holding pattern for months waiting to get their 25th member enrolled. There are ways to help expedite this and you will have support from other leaders, but it’s important to know that it may take a long time to achieve your goal. This truly is the definition of “you get out of it what you put into it.”
Chapter leaders were asked one question, “Why did you decide to become a Roaring Riot chapter leader/founder?” These are their answers.
Kaley Brooke McCloskey, Atlanta Riot: It provides me a place to watch the games in an area of the country where our games aren’t shown on regular tv. It also helped me make some great friendships in Atlanta since I moved here not knowing anyone.
Jason Miller, Space City Riot – Houston, TX: Started ours to find other Panthers fans in the area to bring us all together and make new friendships. Plus all the screaming at the tv in the house was not setting well with the family.
John Ellison, Jacksonville, FL: Started this to find fans in the greater Jacksonville FL area that share the same passion I do for the Carolina Panthers. Have a goal of finding a place down here where the local establishment is a Panthers bar “home away from home.”
Keith Hall, Capital Riot – Washington, DC: Nobody else would do it and I wanted a place to go watch the game on a big-ass TV with volume and invite 200 or so friends. One thought — this is an exceptional year. It hasn’t always been like this. Lean years can be tough and I expect some groups to not survive until the next season. It has not been easy keeping things going but this year is my payoff.
Josh Klein, Big Apple Riot – New York, NY: We started it specifically to have a place to watch the games with the sound. Whatever we had to do to get that sweet, sweet volume. Plus my wife was getting sick of all the High Fives and gushing about Cam and his beautiful smile.
Caroline Logan, RVA Riot – Richmond, VA: Creating a Roaring Riot chapter in Richmond has provided our group with the opportunity to meet new friends and to have a place to call “home” for every game. Many of us had previously watched the games– without sound and without any other fans– in a sea of Redskins jerseys. Now, we have our own place to gather, cheer our team on, and make new friends. I’ve also loved getting to know some of the other city’s chapter heads and members through Facebook, tailgates, and games. It’s been an incredible experience and season!
Mark Driscoll, Charm City Riot – Baltimore, MD: People kept talking about wanting a group in Baltimore, but no one was stepping up to make it happen. I decided to lead for one simple reason: because I can. I continue to lead because someone needed to step up and change the culture of football fandom in Baltimore. I lead because I know I have many talents that are going to waste if I’m not doing something that I love. I lead because it is very rewarding. Most importantly, I lead because the Carolina Panthers are on the record saying that what we do helps them win games. 2015 is the first season that The Roaring Riot has existed as a national effort, and it is no coincidence that the team has produced the best season in franchise history.