SBD/February 13, 2013/Facilities

NFL Panthers Hope To Begin Bank Of America Stadium Renovations After '13 Season

Potential renovations for Bank of America Stadium include adding escalators
NFL Panthers President Danny Morrison said that the team “plans to begin renovations" on its stadium after the '13 NFL season and "estimates the project could take two years to complete,” according to Steve Reed of the AP. Morrison said that the master plan for Bank of America Stadium “calls for between" $261-297M in upgrades. He added that the goal of Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson “has been to improve the experience for all 74,000 fans.” Morrison said, "He gave us directions that the majority of plans need to be for 74,000 fans, not just premium seating.” The primary objectives “include installing three escalators to reach the upper level, new video and ribbon boards and an improved sound system, as well as upgrading technology and stadium infrastructure and improving access to the stadium through enhanced entry gates.” Some of the “other potential upgrades down the road include adding a roof terrace, a team history area, field club and an indoor practice facility” (AP, 2/12). In Charlotte, Joseph Person reports there is a “line item for an indoor facility” in the plans. Morrison said, “As you try to stay competitive, that is something that a lot of NFL teams are doing.” He added that the Panthers “would like to build the facility in ‘close proximity’ to the stadium, although they don’t own any of the adjacent land.” The Panthers have “$30 million earmarked for an indoor practice facility and other ‘team areas,’ including the locker room, meeting rooms and coaches' offices.” Morrison estimated that the Panthers “would use the facility for 10 percent of their practices,” and the team would “like to find other partners to share the facility.” Meanwhile, Morrison said that the team’s ticket prices “will remain unchanged for a third consecutive season” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/13). Person wrote an indoor facility is “fairly far down the priority list on the team's nearly $300 million renovation plan, but it's on there” (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 2/12).

WHEN IT MATTERED MOST: Morrison said that Richardson “got involved in the negotiations with the city only once.” In Charlotte, Peter St. Onge writes Richardson's involvement happened “after City Council members urged that the Panthers agree to be tethered to Charlotte for 15 years, not the 10 that city staff and team officials had tentatively agreed to.” Morrison said that it was then that Richardson “stepped in and agreed to 15” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/13). 

STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE: In Charlotte, Steve Lyttle reports SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith yesterday said that he would be “willing to buy” the Panthers from Richardson. Smith said, “If the price is right, I’d be interested.” He added, “I would commit to the city -- and I would not ask for money” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/13). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes the “showmanship and improvisation that characterize Bruton’s race tracks could work at Bank of America Stadium” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/13).
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