Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey proved on Saturday night (March 20) that his star power can not only turn movies into box office hits, but his appearance can sell out hockey games. The 56-year-old actor became the unofficial mascot of the Florida Panthers after he began handing out sweatshirts with his face emblazoned on them to MVPs of each winning game.
The secret meaning between the team and Spacey is still unknown, but the royal blue sweatshirt jumpstarted the social media trend on Twitter and Facebook: #SpaceyinSpace.
The “House of Cards” star has been teasing fans that he’d be attending a game soon, posting this video of himself packing up his personalized Fetty Wap jersey into a suitcase.
Spacey’s appearance at the Panthers game set a regular-season franchise attendance record, with 20,817 fans joining him in at the arena for a home game against the Detroit Red Wings. Spacey posted a photo on Instagram of himself hanging out with his favorite team after the game.
Even though the Panthers lost 5-3, Spacey has been dubbed the team’s good luck charm. Last year, the team was in dead last. Now, the Panthers are in first place at the top of the Atlantic division, with a plum starting position for the upcoming playoffs.
To show their appreciation, people at the game were holding “Spacey Face” cutouts — pictures of the actors’ head on stick — which were handed to fans as they entered the arena.
Not surprisingly, Spacey received a standing ovation once his presence was revealed.
The “Spacey in Space” sweatshirts are not just given out to Panthers players. The items are sold at the team’s store, with a portion of the proceeds going towards charity.